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Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2011 with funding from 
Brigham Young University 


«sts* s lf!$fftl 

Tripod of the Chou dynasty, date 812 B.C. In 1565 A.D. it was placed 
by the owner for safety in a temple on Silver Island (near Chinkiang), where 
it may be seen now. 

Taken (by kind permission of the author) from Dr. S. W. BushelPs 
" Chinese Art," vol. i. p. 82. 

f £1 








HAKOL . ..\KT 


PROvu. ciaH 


BOSWELL once remarked to Dr. Johnson that " the history of 
England is so strange that, if it were not well vouched as it is, 
it would be hardly credible." To which Johnson replied in his 
usual style : " Sir, if it were told as shortly, and with as little 
preparation for introducing the different events, as the history 
of the Jewish kings, it would be equally liable to objections of 
improbability." Dr. Johnson went on to illustrate what he 
meant, by specific allusion to the concessions to Parliament 
made by Charles I. " If," he said, " these had been related 
nakedly, without any detail of the circumstances which 
generally led to them, they would not have been believed." 
This is exactly the position of ancient Chinese history, 
which may be roughly said to coincide in time with the history 
of the Jewish kings. The Chinese Annals are mere diaries of 
events, isolated facts being tumbled together in order of date, 
without any regard for proportion. Epoch-making invasions, 
defeats, and cessions of territory are laconically noted down on 
a level with the prince's indiscretion in weeping for a concubine 
as he would weep for a wife ; or the Emperor's bounty in 
sending a dish of sacrificial meat to a vassal power by express 
messenger. In one way there is a distinct advantage in this 
method, for, the historian being seldom tempted to obtrude his 
own opinion or comments, we are left a clear course for the 
formation of our own judgments upon the facts given. On 
the other hand, it is unfortunate that what may be called the 

V1 Preface 

philosophy of history has never been seized by the Chinese 
mind : the annalists do not trouble themselves with the rights 
and aspirations of the masses ; the results to general policy 
that naturally follow upon increase of population, perfecting 
of arms and munitions of war, admixture of foreign blood with 
the body politic, and such like matters. The heads of events noted, it seems to be left to the reader to fill in the 
details from his imagination, and from his knowledge of con- 
temporary affairs. For instance, suppose the reign of Queen 
Victoria were to begin after this fashion:-" 1837, 5th moon 
Kalends, Victoria succeeded : 9 th moon, Ides, Napoleon paid a 
visit : 2 8th day, London flooded ; 10th moon, 29th day, eclipse 
of the sun « ; and so on. At the time, and for many years- 
possibly centuries-afterwards, there would be accurate general 
traditional, or even written, information as to who Victoria 
was ; why Napoleon paid a visit ; in what particular way the 
flood affected England generally; from what parts the eclipse 
was best visible, etc. These details would fade in distinctness 
with each successive generation ; commentators would come to 
the rescue ; then commentators upon commentators ; and dis- 
cussions as to which man was the most trustworthy of them all. 
Under these circumstances it is difficult enough for the 
Chinese themselves to construct a series of historical lessons 
adequate to guide them in the conduct of modern affairs, out 
of so heterogeneous a mass of material. This difficulty is in 
the case of Westerners, more than doubled by the strange, and 
to us inharmonious, sounds of Chinese proper names : more- 
over, as they are monosyllabical, and many of them exactly 
similar when expressed in our letters, it is almost impossible to 
remember them, and to distinguish one from the other. Thus 
most persons who make an honest endeavour by means of 
translations to master the leading events in ancient Chinese 

Preface vii 

history soon throw down the book in despair ; while even 
specialists, who may wish to shorten their labours by availing 
themselves of others' work, can only get a firm grip of trans- 
lations by comparing them with the originals : it is thus really 
impossible to acquire anything at all approaching an accurate 
understanding of Chinese antiquity without possessing in some 
degree the controlling power of a knowledge of the pictographs. 
It is in view of all these difficulties that an attempt has 
been made in this book to extract principles from isolated 
facts ; to avoid, so far as is possible, the use of Chinese proper 
names ; to introduce these as sparingly and gradually as is 
practicable when they must be used at all ; to describe the 
general trend of events and life of the people rather than the 
personal acts of rulers and great officers ; and, generally, to 
put it into the power of any one who can only read English, 
to gain an intelligible notion of what Chinese antiquity really 
was ; and what principles and motives, declared or tacit, under- 
lay it. It is with this object before me that I have ventured to 
call my humble work " Ancient China Simplified," and I can 
only express a hope that it will really be found intelligible. 


1 8, Gambier Terrace, Liverpool, 
May 1 8, 1908. 


There is much repetition in the book, the same facts being 
presented, for instance, under the heads of Army, Religion, 
Confucius, and Marriages. This is intentional, and the object 
is to keep in the mind impressions which in a strange, ancient, 
and obscure subject are apt to disappear after perusal of only 
one or two casual statements. 

The Index has been carefully prepared so that any allusion 
or statement vaguely retained in the mind may at once be 
confirmed. The chapter headings, or contents list, which 
itself contains nearly five per cent, of the whole letterpress, is 
so arranged that it omits no feature treated of in the main 

In the earlier chapters uncouth proper names are reduced 
to a minimum, but the Index refers by name to specific places 
and persons only generally mentioned in the earlier pages. 
For instance, the states of Lu and Cheng on pages 22 and 
29 : it is hard enough to differentiate Ts'i, Tsin, Ts'in, and 
Ts'u at the outstart, without crowding the memory with fresh 
names until the necessity for it absolutely arises. 

The nine maps are inserted where they are most likely 
to be useful: it is a good plan to refer to a map each time 
a place is mentioned, unless the memory suffices to suggest 
exactly where that place is. After two or three patient refer- 
ences, situations of places will take better root in the mind. 

The chapters are split up into short discussions and 


x Aids to Memory 

descriptions, because longer divisions are apt to be tedious 
where ancient history is concerned. And the narrative of 
political movement is frequently interrupted by the intro- 
duction of new matter, in order to provide novelty and 
stimulate the imagination. Moreover, all chapters and all 
subjects converge on one general focus. 

On page 15 of "China, her Diplomacy, etc." (John 
Murray, 1901), I have confessed how tedious I myself had 
found ancient Chinese history, and how its human interest 
only begins with foreign relations. I have, however, gone 
systematically through the mill once more, and my present 
object is to present general results only obtainable at the 
cost of laboriously picking out and resetting isolated and 
often apparently unconnected records of fact. 


Chou : at first a principality in South Shen Si and part of Kan Suh, subject to 
Shang dynasty ; afterwards the imperial dynasty itself. 

Ts'in : principality west of the above. When the Chou dynasty moved its capital 
east into Ho Nan, Ts'in took possession of the old Chou principality. 

Tsin : principality (same family as Chou) in South Shan Si (and in part of Shen 
Si at times). 

Ts'i : principality, separated by the Yellow River from Tsin and Yen ; it lay in 

North Shan Tung, and in the coast part of Chih Li. 
Ts'u : semi -barbarous principality alone preponderant on the Yang-tsz River. 

Wu : still more barbarous principality (ruling caste of the same family as Chou, 
but senior to Chou) on the Yang-tsz embouchure and Shanghai coasts. 

YiJEH : equally barbarous principality commanding another embouchure in the 
Hangchow-Ningpo region. Wu and Yiieh were at first subordinate to Ts'u. 

Yen : principality (same family as Chou) in the Peking plain, north of the Yellow 
River mouth. 

Shuh and Pa : in no way Chinese or federal ; equivalent to Central and Eastern 

Sz Ch'wan province. 
Cheng : principality in Ho Nan (same family as Chou). 

Sung : principality taking in the four corners of Ho Nan, Shan Tung, An Hwei, 
and Kiang Su (Shang dynasty family). 

Ch'en : principality in Ho Nan, south of Sung (family of the Ploughman 
Emperor, 2250 B.C., preceding even the Hia dynasty). 

Wei : principality taking in corners of Ho Nan, Chih Li, and Shan Tung 
(family of the Chou emperors). 

Ts'AO : principality in South-west Shan Tung ; neighbour of Lu, Wei, and Sung 
(same family as Chou). 

Ts'ai : principality in Ho Nan, south of Ch'en (same family as Chou). 

Lu : principality in South-west Shan Tung, between Ts'ao and Ts'i (its founder 
was the brother of the Chou founder). 

Hi) : very small principality in Ho Nan, south of Cheng (same obscure eastern 
ancestry as Ts'i). 

K'l : Shan Tung promontory and German sphere (of Hia dynasty descent) ; it is 
often confused with, or is quite the same as, another principality called Ki 
(without the aspirate). 

The above are practically all the states whose participation in Chinese 
development has been historically of importance. 



Confucius : after 500 B.C. premier of Lu ; traced his descent back through the 
Chou dynasty vassal ruling family of Sung to the Shang dynasty family. 

Tsz-ch'an : elder contemporary of Confucius ; premier of Cheng ; traced his 
descent through the vassal ruling family of Cheng to the Chou dynasty 
family : date of death variously stated. 

Kwan-tsz : died between 648 and 643 B.C., variously stated ; premier of Ts'i ; 
traced his descent to the same clan as the ruling dynasty of Chou. 

Ykn-tsz : died 500 B.C. ; premier of Ts'i ; traced his descent to a local clan, 
apparently eastern barbarian by origin. 

Wei Yang : died 338 B.C. ; premier of Ts'in ; was a concubine-born prince of 
the vassal state of Wei, and was thus of the imperial Chou dynasty clan. 

Shuh Hiang: lawyer and minister of Tsin ; belonged to one of the "great 

families " of Tsin ; was contemporary with Tsi-ch'an. 
Hiang Suh : diplomat of the state of Sung ; pedigree not ascertained. 

Ki-chah : son, brother, and uncle of successive barbarian kings of Wu, whose 
ancestors, however, were the same ancestors as the orthodox imperial rulers 
of the Chou dynasty ; contemporary of Tsz-ch'an. 



i. Marquess of Ts'i (not of imperial Chou clan, perhaps of "Eastern 
Barbarian " origin). 

2. Marquess of Tsin (imperial Chou clan). 

3. Duke of Sung (imperial Shang dynasty descent). 

4. "King" of T'su (semi-barbarian, but with remote imperial Chinese 

legendary descent). 

5. Earl of Ts'in (semi-Tartar, with legendary descent from remote imperial 


6. "King" OF Wu (semi-barbarian, but of imperial Chou family descent). 

7. "King" of Yueh (barbarian, but with legendary descent from ultra- 

remote imperial Chinese). 






Beginning of dated history — Size of ancient China— Parcelled out into fiefs 
— Fiefs correspond to modern hien districts — Mesne lords and sub- 
vassals — Method of migration and colonizing — Course of the Yellow 
River in 842 B.C. — Distant fiefs in Shan Tung and Chih Li provinces of 
to-day — A river which subsequently became part of the Grand Canal — 
The Hwai River system of waters — Europeans always regard China 
from the sea inwards — Corea, Japan, and Liao Tung unknown in 
842 B.C. except, perhaps, to the vassal state in Peking plain — Orthodox 
Chinese adopting barbarian usages in Shan Tung — Eastern barbarians 
on the coast to Shanghai — No knowledge of South or West Asia — Left 
bank of Yellow River was mostly Tartar, except in South Shan Si — 
Ancient capital in Shan Si — Ancient colonization of the Wei River 
valleys in Shen Si — Possibilities of Western ideas having been carried 
by Tartar horsemen from Persia and Turkestan — Traditions of western, 
eastern, and southern intercourse previous to 842 B.C. — Early know- 
ledge of the River Yang-tsz and its three mouths — Explorations by 
ancient emperors — Development of China followed much the same 
normal course as that of Greece or England . . . . .1-8 



Character of the early colonizing Chinese satraps — Revolt of the western 
satrap and flight of the Emperor in 842 B.C. — Daughter of a later satrap 
marries the Emperor — Tartars mix up with questions of imperial 
succession and kill the Emperor — Transfer of the imperial metropolis 
from Shen Si to Ho Nan — The Chou dynasty, dating from 1122 B.C. — 
Before its conquest, the vassal house of Chou occupied the same relation 
to the imperial dynasty of Shang that the Wardens of the Western 
Marches, or Princes of Ts'in, did in turn to the imperial dynasty of 
Chou — The Shang dynasty had in 1766 B.C., for like reasons, supplanted 
the Hia dynasty — No events of great interest recorded in limited area of 
China before 771 B.C. — Decline of the imperial power until its extinction 


xiv Contents 


in 250 B.C. — The Five Tyrant or Protector period — Natural movement 
to keep pace with political development — Easier system of writing — 
Development of trade and industry — Living interests clash with 
extinct aspirations — From 722 B.C. to 480 B.C. is the period of change 
covered by Confucius' history . . . . . . 9-13 



The state of Tsin in Shan Si — In 771 B.C. : its ruler escorts the Emperor to 
his new capital — Only in 671 B.C. does Confucius mention Tsin — 
Divided from Ts'in by the Yellow River — Important difference between 
the sounds Tsin and Ts'in — Importance of the whole Yellow River as a 
natural boundary — The state of Ts'i also engaged in buffer work against 
Tartar inroads — Remote origin of Ts'i — Ts'in, Tsin, and Ts'i grow 
powerful as the Emperor grows weaker — The state of Yen in the Peking 
plain — The founder of Yen immortalized in song — Complete absence of 
tradition concerning Yen's origin — Its possible relations with Corea and 
Japan — Centre of political gravity transferred for ever to the north — 
Tartar movements in Asia generally 800-600 B.C. — Never was a Tarter 
empire — Reason for using the loose word " Tartars " — Race divisions 
then probably very much as now — Attempt to classify the Tartars in 
definite groups — Sz Ch'wan unknown by any name — Nothing at all was 
known in China of the north and west : a fortiori of Central Asia 14-20 


The collapse of the Emperor led to restlessness in the south too — The Jungle 
country south of the River Han — Ancient origin of its kings — Claim to 
equality — Buffer state to the south— Ruling caste consisted of educated 
Chinese — Extension of the Ts'u empire — Annamese connections — 
Claims repeated 704 B.C. — Capital moved to King-chou Fu near 
Sha-shi — First Ts'u conquests of China — Five hundred years of struggle 
with Ts'in for the possession of all China , .... 21-23 


How far is history true? — Confucius and eclipses — Evidence notwithstanding 
the destruction of literature in 213 b.c. — Retrospective calculations of 
eclipses and complications of calendars — Eclipse of 776 B.C. — Errors in 
Confucian history owing to rival calendars .... 24-27 

Contents xv 



Paraphernalia of warfare — Ten thousand and one thousand chariot states — 
Use of war-chariots, leather or wood — Chariots allotted according to 
rank — Seventy-five men to one cart — War-chariots date back to 
1800 B.C. — Tartar house-carts — Rivers mostly unnavigable in north — 
Introduction of canals and boat traffic — Population and armies — Vague 
descriptions — Early armies never exceeded 75,000 men — The use of 
flags — Used in hunting as well as in war — Victims sacrificed to drums — 
A modern instance of this in 1900 A. D 28-32 



The coast states in possession of the Yang-tsz delta — The state of Wu really 
of the same origin as the imperial dynasty of Chou — Comparison with 
Phoenician colonists — Wu induced by Tsin to attack Ts'u — Ancient 
name was Kcugu — Wu falls into the whirl of Chinese politics — Confucius 
and his contemptuous treatment of barbarians — Lu, in South Shan Tung, 
the place where Confucius held official posts — Great Britain and Duke 
Confucius — Five ranks for rulers of vassal states — Sacking of the Ts'u 
capital by Wu in 506 B.C. — Wu's vassal Yiieh turns against Wu — Uviet 
the native name of Yiieh — Bloody wars between Wu and Yiieh — 
Extinction of Wu in 483 B.C. — Yiieh was always a coast power — 
Reasons for Confucius' endeavours to re-establish the old feudal 
system 33-37 


The first Hegemon or Protector of China and his own vassal kingdom of 
Ts'i — Limits of Ts'i and ancient course of the Yellow River — Absence 
of ancient records — Shiftings of capital in the ninth century B.C. — 
Emperor's collapse of 842 and its effect upon Ts'i — Aid rendered by 
Ts'i in suppressing the Tartars — Inconsiderable size of Ts'i — Revenges 
a judicial murder two centuries old — Rapid rise of Ts'i, and services of 
the statesman-philosopher Kwan-tsz — The governing caste in China — 
Declares self Protector of China 679 B.C. — Tartar raids down to the 
Yellow River in Ho Nan — Chinese durbars and the duties of a Pro- 
tector — Ts'in and Ts'u too far off or too busy for orthodox durbars — 
Little is now known of the puppet Emperor's dominions — Effeminate 
character of all the Central Chinese orthodox states — Fighting instincts 
all with semi-Chinese states — Struggle for life becoming keener 
throughout China 38-42 

xvi Contents 




Sanctity of envoys — Rivalry of Tsin north and Ts'u south for influence over 
orthodox centre — The state of Cheng (imperial clan) — The state of 
Sung (Shang dynasty clan) — Family sacrifices — Instances of envoy 
treatment — The philosopher Yen-tsz : his irony — The statesman Tsz- 
ch'an of Cheng — Ts'u's barbarous and callous conduct to envoys — 
Greed for valuables among high officers — Squabble for precedence at 
Peace Conference — Confucius manipulates history — Yen-tsz and Con- 
fucius together at attempted assassination .... 43-48 


Death of First Protector and his henchman Kwan-tsz, 648-643 B.C. — Ts'i 
succession and Sung's claim to Protectorate — Tartar influence in Ts'i — 
Ts'u's claim to the hegemony — Ridiculous orthodox chivalry — Great 
development of Tsin — A much-married ruler — Marriage complications 
— Interesting story of the political wanderings of the Second Protector 
— Tries to replace Kwan-tsz deceased — Pleasures of Ts'i life — Mean 
behaviour of orthodox princes to the Wanderer — Frank attitude of Ts'u 
— Successive Tartar-born rulers of Tsin, and war with Ts'in — Second 
Protector gains his own Tsin throne — Puppet Emperor at a durbar — 
Tsin obtains cession of territory — Triangular war between the Powers — 
Description of the political situation — China 2500 years ago beginning 
to move as she is now doing again ...... 49~54 



No religion except natural religion — Religion not separate from administra- 
tive ritual — The titles of "King" and "Emperor" — Prayer common, 
but most other of our own religious notions absent — Local religion in 
barbarous states — Distinction between loss and annihilation of power — 
Ducal rank and marquesses — Distinction between grantee sacrifices and 
personal sacrifices — Prayer and the ancient Emperor Shun, whose grave 
is in Hu Nan — Chou Emperor's sickness and brother's written prayer — 
Offers to sacrifice self — Messages from the dead — Lao-tsz's book — Ts'in 
and conquered Tsin sacrifices — Further instances of prayer . . 55-59 

Contents xvii 



Ancestral tablets carried in war — Shrines graduated according to rank — 
Description of shrines — Specific case of the King of Ts'u — Instance of 
the First August Emperor much later — Temple of Heaven, Peking, and 
the British occupation of it — Modern Japanese instance of reporting to 
Heaven and ancestors — Tsin and Ts'i instances of it — Sacrificial tablets 
— Writing materials — Lu's special spiritual status — Desecration of tombs 
and flogging of corpses — Destruction of ancestral temples — Imperial 
presents of sacrificial meat — Fasting and purification — Intricate 
mourning rules .......,, 60-65 



History of Tsin and the Bamboo Annals discovered after 600 years* burial — 
Confirmatory of Confucius' history — Obsolete and modern script — 
Ancient calendars — Their evidence in rendering dates precise — The 
Ts'in calendar imposed on China — Rise of the Ts'in power — Position 
as Protector — Vast Tartar annexations by Ts'in — Duke Muh of Ts'in 
and Emperor Muh of China — Posthumous names — Discovery of ancient 
books — Supposed travels of Emperor Muh to Tartary — Possibility of 
the Duke Muh having made the journeys — Ts'in and Tsin force Tartars 
to migrate — Surreptitious vassal " emperors " — Instances of Annam and 
Japan — Tsin against Ts'in and Ts'u after Second Protector's death — 
Ts'i never again Protector — Ts'in's Chinese and Tartar advisers — 
Foundations for Ts'in's future empire 66-70 



The Five Protectors of China more exactly defined — No such period as the 
"Five Tyrant period " can be logically accepted as accurate — Chinese 
never understand the principles of history as distinct from the detailed 
facts — International situation defined — Flank movements — Appearance 
of barbarous Wu in the Chinese arena — Phonetic barbarian names — The 
State of Wei — Enlightened prince envoy to China from Wu — Wu 
rapidly acquires the status of Protector — Confucius tampers with 
history — Risky position of the King of Wu — Yiieh conquers Wu, and 
poses as Protector — The River Sz (Grand Canal) . . . 71-76 


xviii Contents 




Further explanations regarding the grouping of states, and the size of the 
smallest states — Statesmen of all orthodox states acquainted with one 
another — No dialect difficulties in ancient times — Records exist for 
everything — Absence of caste, but persistence of the hereditary idea — 
The great political economist Kwan-tsz — Tsz-ch'an, the prince-states- 
man of Cheng — Shuh Hiang, statesman of Tsin — Reference to Appendix 
No. I — The statesman Yen-tsz of Ts'i — Confucius' origin as a member 
of the royal Sung family — Confucius' wanderings not so very extensive 
— Confucius no mere pedant, but a statesman and a humorist — Hiang 
Siih of Sung, inventor of "Hague" Conferences — Ki-chah, prince- 
envoy of Wu — K'ii-peh-yuh, an authority in Wei — Ts'in had no literary 
men — Lao-tsz of Ts'u — Reasons why Confucius does not mention 
him 77-82 



Ancient land and land-tax— Combination of military service with land 
cultivation— « Studious class had to study too (in its pre-Lao-tsz sense)— 
Next the trading classes — Next the cultivators — Last the handicraftsmen 
Another division of the people — Responsibility of rulers to God- 
Classification of rulers and ruling ranks— Eunuchs and slaves— Cadastral 
survey in Ts'u state — Reserves for sporting— Cemeteries— Salt-flats - 
Another land and military service system in Ts'u— Kwan-tsz's system in 
T s «i p or relief— Shrewd diplomacy— His master becomes First Pro- 
tector—Commerce and fairs— "The people" ignored in history— Tsin 
reforms and administration— The "great family" nuisance— Roads, 
supplies, post-stages— Ts'i had developed even before Kwan-tsz— 
Restlessness of active minds under the yoke of ritual . . . 83-88 



Very little mention of ancient writing or education— Baked inscribed bricks 
unknown to the loess region— Cession of land inscribed upon metal— 
The Nine Tripods— Ts'u claims them— Instances of written grants and 
prayers _p r0 of of teaching— A written public notice— Probable use of 
wood— Conventions upon stone— Books in sixth century B.C.— Maps, 
cadastre, and census records— A doubtful instance— A closed letter- 
Indentures— A military map— Treaties— Ancient theory of juvenile 

Contents xix 


education for office — Invention of new-written script 827 B.C. — 
Patriarchal rule inconsistent with enlightenment — Unification of script, 
weights, measures, and axle-breadths by the First August Emperor — 
Further invention of script and first dictionary — Facility of Chinese 
writing for reading purposes — Chinese now in a state of flux . 89-94 



Treaties and imprecations — Smearing with blood of victims — Squabble re 
precedence in the treaty -making — Shuh Hiang's philosophy — Confucius' 
tampering with history condoned — Care of Chinese in preserving first- 
hand evidence — Emperor ignored by treaty-makers — Form of a treaty, 
with imprecation — Mesne lords and their vassals — Negotiations and 
references for instructions — TsVs first protectorate in 538 — Ts'u's 
difficulty with Wu — The Six Families of Tsin — Sacrificing cocks as 
sanction to vows — Drawing human blood as sanction — Pigs for the 
same purpose — Kwan-tsz's honourable behaviour in keeping treaty — 
Confucius not so honourable : instances given — Casuistry backed up by 
a proverb .......... 95-100 



Life-time of Confucius — Secret of his influence — Visit of the Wu prince to 
Confucius' state — Lu's "powerful " family plague — Lu's position between 
Tsin and Ts'u iufluences — Ts'i studies the ritual in Lu : Yen-tsz goes 
thither — Sketch of Lu history in its connection with Confucius — What 
were his practical objects ? — Authorities in support of what Confucius' 
Annals tell us — Original conception of natural religion — Spread of the 
earliest patriarchal Chinese state — No other people near them possessed 
letters — The way in which the Chinese spread — Lines of least resistance 
— The spiritual emperor compared with some of the Popes — Lu's 
spiritual position — Confucius of Sung descent, and at first not an 
influential official in Lu — Lu's humiliation — Ts'i's intrigues to counter- 
act Confucius' genius — Travels of Confucius and his history — His 
edited works ......... 101-107 


Original notion of law — War and punishment on a level — Secondary punish- 
ments — Judgment given as each breach occurs — No distinction between 
legislative and judicial — Private rights ignored by the State — Public 
weal is Nature's law — First law reform for the Hundred Families — 

xx Contents 


Dr. Legge's translation of the Code — Proclamation of the Emperor's 
laws — Themistes or decisions — Capricious instances : boiling alive by 
Emperor — Interference of Emperor in Lu succession — Tsang Wen- 
chung's code in Lu — Barbarity of the Ts'u laws — Lu's influence with 
the Emperor — Tsin's engraved laws — Tsz-ch'an's laws on metal in 
Cheng — Confucius disapproves of published law — English judge-made 
law — All rulers accepted Chou law — Reading law over sacrificial victim 
— Laconic ancient laws — Command emanates from the north — Defini- 
tion of imperial power — The laws of Li K'wei in Ngwei state (part of 
old Tsin) — Direct influence on modern law .... 108-114 


Engineering works of old Emperors — Marvellous chiselled gorge above 
Ich'ang— Pa and Shuh kingdoms ( = Sz Ch'wan) — The engineer Li 
Ping in Sz Ch'wan : his sluices still in working order after 2200 years of 
use — Chinese ideas about the sources of the Yang-tsz — The Lolo 
country and its independence — The Yellow River and its vagaries — 
Substitution of the Chou dynasty for the Shang dynasty — First rulers of 
Wu make a canal — Origin of the Grand Canal — Explanation of the old 
riverine system of Shan Tung — Extension of the Canal by the First 
August Emperor — Kublai Khan's share in it — The old Wu capital — 
Soochow and its ancient arsenals — No bridges in old days : fords used 
— Instances — Limited navigability of northern rivers — Various Great 
Walls — Enormous waste of human life — New Ts'in metropolis — Forced 
labour and eunuchs ........ 11 5-120 


Ancient cities mere hovels — Soul, the capital of modern Corea — Modern 
cities still poor affairs — Want of unity causes downfall of Ts'in and 
China — Magnificence of Ts'i capital — TsVs palaces imitated in Lu — 
The capital of Wu — Modern Soochow — Nothing known of early Ts'in 
towns — Reforms of Wei Yang in Ts'in — Probable population — Mag- 
nificent buildings at new Ts'in metropolis — Facility with which vassal 
states shifted their capitals — Insignificant size of ancient principalities — 
Walled cities 121-126 



Collapse of Wu, flight in boats to Japan — Ground to believe that the ruling 
caste of Japan was influenced by Chinese colonists in the fifth century 
B.C. — Rise of Yiieh, and action in China as Protector — Changes in the 

Contents xxi 


Hwai River system — Last days of the Chou dynasty — The year 403 
B.C. is the second great pivot point in history — Undermining of Ts'i 
state by the T'ien or Ch'en family — Confucius shocked at the murder 
of a Ts'i prince — Sudden rise of Ts'in after two centuries of stagnation 
— The reforms of Wei Yang lead to the conquest of China — Orthodox 
China compared with Greece— The " Fighting State" Period . 127-132 



Titles of the Emperors of the Chou dynasty — The word " King " in modern 
times — Posthumous names — The title " Emperor " and the word 
"Imperial" — "God" confused with "Emperor" — Lao-tsz's view — 
Comparison with Babylonia, Egypt, etc. — No feudal prince was re- 
cognized by the Emperor as possessing the same title as the Emperor — 
The Roman Emperors — The five ranks of nobles — The Emperor's 
private " dukes " compared with cardinals — The state of Lu — The state 
of Ts'i — The state of Tsin — No race hatreds in China — The state of 
Wei — Clanship between dynasties — Sacrificial rights — The state of 
Cheng : a fighting ground for all — The state of Ch'en — Explanation 
of the term " duke " as applied to all sovereign princes . . 133-139 



The vassal princes of the Chou and previous dynasties — Vassal princes 
and their relations with the Emperors — Protectors make great show of 
defending the Emperors rights — The Emperor's sacrifices to God — 
Rules and rights concerning fees — All China belongs to the Emperor — 
Peculiar notions about the Emperor's territory — Respect due to imperial 
envoys — Direct and indirect vassals — Ts'u's group of vassals — Ts'u 
compared with Macedon — Never subject to the Emperors — Right of 
passage for armies — Special complimentary use of the term " viscount " 
— Titles not inherited during mourning — Forms of address — Rival 
Protectors and their respective subordinate states — Tribute from the 
states to the Emperor, and presents from the Emperor to the vassal 
states — The Emperor accepts faits accomplis, and takes what he 
can get 140-146 



Period of fighting states — Tsin divided into Han, Ngwei, and Chao — Ts'in 
developing herself in Tartary and in Sz Ch'wan — Want of orderly 
method in Chinese history — How the statesmen of each vassal state 
developed resources— Ts'in's military development compared with that 

xxii Contents 


of Prussia from 1815 to 1870 — " Perpendicular and Horizontal " period 
— Object to crush Ts'in — Rival claimants for universal empire — First 
appearance of the Huns or Turks — Helpless position of Old China — 
Bloody battles in Ts'in's final career of conquest — A million men de- 
capitated — Immense cavalry fights — Ts'in's supreme effort for conquest 
of China . 147-152 



RSsumi of Chinese historical development — General lines of Chinese advance 
— Methods of Chinese colonization — Equal pedigree claims of half- 
Chinese states — Tsin and Ts'i were even more ancient than orthodox 
China — Degree of foreignness in Ts'u — Ts'u native words and music — 
Ts'u peculiarities — Succession laws in Ts'u and Lu compared — Further 
evidence of Ts'u's foreign ways — Beards — Titles, posthumous and other 
— Ts'u admits her own savagery — Ts'u's claim to the Nine Tripods — Ts'u 
and the Chou rites — Ts'u's gradual civilization — Confucius' admiration 
of Ts'u — Confucius' style in speaking of barbarians — Distinction between 
11 beat " and " battle " — German distinctions of rank compared with 
Chinese — The historical honour of "naming " — Vagueness of testimony 
and the way to test evidence 153-158 



The state of Wu — First Chinese princely emigrants adopted barbarian 
usages — The Jungle country and Wu — Wu's way of doing the hair and 
Wu's confession of barbarism — Federal China uses Wu against Ts'u — 
Wu the same language and manners as Yiieh — Native Wu words — 
Wu's ignorance of war — Wu's early isolation — Ts'i enters into marriage 
relations with Wu — Mencius objects retrospectively — Wu ruling caste — 
The Wu language — Succession laws of Wu — A Wu prince's views on the 
soul — Confucius' views on ghosts — Ki-chah's intimacy with orthodox 
statesmen — Rumours of Early Japan — Japan and Wu tattooing customs 
alike — Japanese traditions of a connection with Wu — Dangers of etymo- 
logical guess-work — Doubts about racial matters in Wu— Small value of 
Japanese history and tradition — General conclusions . . . 159-165 



Small size of ancient China — Description of ancient nucleus and surrounding 
barbarians — Amount of foreign element in each vassal state — Policy of 
the Ts'i and Lu administrations — The savage tribes of the eastern coasts 
— Persistency of some down to 970 a.d. — Ts'in's unliterary quality— 

Contents xxiii 


Her human sacrifices — Her Turkish blood — Late influence of the 
Emperors over Ts'in — Ts'in's gradual civilization — Ki-chah on Ts'in 
music — Ts'u treats Ts'in as barbarian still in 361 B.C. — Ts'in's isolation 
previous to 326 B.C. — Tartar rule of succession at one time in Ts'in — 
Yueh's barbarism— Its able king — Native name — Mushroom existence 
as a power — The various branches of the Yiieh race in Foochow, 
Wenchow, and Tonquin — Wu and Yiieh spoke the same language — 
Ruling caste of Wu — Stern military discipline in Wu and Yiieh — 
Neither state proved to have had human sacrifices — Crawling customs 
— Ancient Chinese descent of rulers — Yueh's later capital in the German 
sphere — Her power always marine ...... 1 66-1 71 



Literary relations between vassal states — Confucius set the ball of philosophy 
a-rolling — The fourfold " Bible " of China — Odes were generally known 
by heart — Comparison with President Kruger and his texts — Quotations 
from Odes and Book enable us to fix dates — Books were heavy weights 
in those days — People trusted to memory — The Rites more exclusively 
understood by the ruling classes — Comparison with Johnsonian wits — 
Instances cited, with side proofs — History and Classics corroborate 
each other — Evidences — Confucius' ancestor composes odes — Political 
song by the children of Tsin — Another still- existing ode in reference 
to the Second Protector — Ts'u's early literary knowledge — General 
knowledge of Odes and History — Ignorance of Ts'in — Ts'in ancient 
documents the only ones now remaining — First definite notion of 
abolishing the feudal system — The pivot point403 B.C. — Ts'in's conquests 
in north, south, east, and west — The First August Emperor's travels — 
Lao-tsz's Taoist philosophy becomes fashionable — Ts'in's hatred of 
orthodox literature, and of the Odes and Book in particular — The Book 
of Changes escapes his hatred — Revolutionary decree of the First 
August Emperor — Lost annals of all feudal states but Ts'in — Learned 
Tartars of Tsin — Confucius used Tsin annals too — Origin of the name 
Shi-ki, or " Historical Annals "— Further evidence of lost histories — 
Curious name for Ts'u Annals — Ts'u poetry — Ts'u's knowledge of past 
history —The term " Springs and Autumns " — Baldness of early 
Chinese annals . . 172-185 



Whence did the Chinese come? — All men of equal age and ancestry — 
Records make civilization and nobility — Evidences of antiquity — China 
and the West totally unknown to each other in ancient times — Tartars 
the connecting link — Though tamed by religion they are not much 
changed now — Traders then, as now, but no through travellers — 

xxiv Contents 


Chinese probably in China for myriads of years before their records began 
— Tonic peculiarities of all tribes near China except the Tartars — 
Chinese followed lines of least resistance — Tartars driven back, but 
difficult to absorb — So with Coreans and Japanese — Indo-China not so 
favourable for Chinese absorption — Records decided the direction taken 
by culture — Southern half-Chinese have equal claims with orthodox 
Chinese — Traditions of ancient emperors in north, coast, and south parts 
— Suggestions as to how the most ancient Chinese spread themselves — 
No hint of immigration from anywhere — The old suggestion of im- 
migration from the Tarim Valley and Babylonia — Suggested compromise 
with Western religious views — Creation and Nature — Compromise with 
the supernatural and imaginative — Summing up . . . 187-193 



The Chinese calendar — Confucius and eclipses — Proclaiming the new moon 
— Celestial observations in different states — Chinese year is luni-solar — 
Difficulty with the exact length of a moon — Ingenious devices for 
bringing the solar and lunar years, the seasons, solstices, and equinoxes 
into harmony with agricultural needs — The sixty-year cycle — Various 
reforms of the calendar, and various changes in the month beginning 
the year — Effect of calendar changes on Confucius' birthday — All is 
evidence in favour of accuracy of the Chinese records . . . 194-199 



The difficulty of proper names — Instances — Clans and detached families — 
Surnames and personal names — Strange personal appellations — Inter- 
change of names by all states — Eunuchs and priests — Minute rules 
about " naming" individuals — Confucius conveys praise or censure by 
"naming" persons — The principles upon which several names are 
applied to one person — Tabu — Instances, and Roman parallel — The 
Duke of Chou virtual founder of posthumous name system — Dying king 
and posthumous choice of name — Incestuous marriages in own clan — 
Hushing up incest in high places — Complication of names connected — 
Bearing of names upon the political events connected therewith . 200-206 



Eunuchs and their origin — Criminals with feet chopped off as keepers — 
Noseless criminals for isolated picket duty — The branded were gate- 
keepers — Eunuchs for the harem — " Purified men " — Comparative 

Contents xxv 


antiquity of Persia and China — Eunuchs in Tsin — Ts'i eunuchs and 
Confucius — Eunuchs in Wu — Ts'u's uses for eunuchs — Eunuch intrigues 
in connection with the First August Emperor — The First Emperor's 
putative father — His works — Eunuch witnesses assassination of Second 
August Emperor — General employ of eunuchs in China — Human 
sacrifices in Ts'in and Ts'u : also in Ts'i — Doubts as to its existence in 
orthodox China — Han Emperor's prohibition — No fruit wine in ancient 
China — Spirits universal — Vice around ancient China rather than in it — 
Instances of heavy drinking inTs'i andTs'u — Tsin drinking — Confucius 
and liquor — Drinking in Ts'in — Ancient Chinese were meat-eaters — 
Horse-flesh and Tartars — Horse-liver in Prussia — Anecdote of Duke 
Muh and the hippophagi — Bears' paws as food — Elephants in Ts'u — 
Dogs as food ......... 207-212 



The Emperor Muh's voyages to the West in 984 B.C. — The question of de- 
stroyed state annals — Exaggerated importance of the expedition, even if 
facts true — King Muh's father was killed in a similar expedition — 
Discovery of the Bamboo Books of 299 B.C. in 281 A.D. — Imaginary 
interpretations put upon King Muh's expedition by European critics— 
The Queen of Sheba — Professor Chavannes attributes the travels of 
Duke Muh of Ts'in 650 B.C. — Description of first journey — Along the 
great road to Lob Nor — Modern evidence that he got as far as Urumtsi 
— Six hundred days, or 12,000 miles — Specific evidence as to distance 
travelled each day — Various Tartar incidents of the journey — The 
Emperor's infatuation on the second journey— Lieh-tsz, the Taoist 
philosopher, on the Emperor Muh's travels — Arguments qualifying 
M. Chavannes' view that Duke Muh, and not the Emperor Muh, 
undertook the journeys 213-223 



Wu kingdom — Name begins 585 B.C. — This is the year Japanese "history " 
begins — The first king and his four sons — Prince Ki-chah — War with 
Ts'u and sacking of its capital — King Fu-ch'ai and his wars against 
Yiieh — Offered an asylum in Chusan — Suicide of Fu-ch'ai — Escape of 
his family across the seas to Japan — China knew nothing of Japan, even 
if Wu did — Story reduced to its true proportions — Traces of prehistoric 
men in Japan — Possible movements of original inhabitants — Existing 
evidence better than none at all — East from Ningpo must be Japan — 
Like early Greeks and Egyptian colonists — Natural impulses to emi- 
gration — Refugees from China compared to Will Adams — Natural 
desire to improve pedigrees — No shame to Japan's ruling caste to hail 
from China — European comparisons — How the Japanese manufactured 
their past history — Imagination must be kept separate from evidence 224-230 

xxvi Contents 



Peculiar customs — Formalities of surrender — A number of instances of 
succession rules — Status of wives — Cases where the Emperor himself 
breaks the rules — Instances of irregular succession in various states — 
Customs of war — Cutting off the left ear as trophy — Rewards for heads 
— Principles of facing north and south — Turning towards Mecca — Left 
and Right princes — Modern instances of official seating — North- and 
south-facing houses — Chivalrous rules about mourning — Funeral missions 
— The feudal yearnings of Confucius explained — Respect even of bar- 
barians for mourning — Many other quaint instances of funeral and 
mourning rules — Promises made to a dying non compos of no avail — 
Mencius and the diplomatists ....... 231- 241 



Rights of women in ancient China — The legal rule and the actual fact — 
Instances of irregularity in female status, both in ancient and modern 
China — Instances of incest and irregular marriage even in orthodox 
states — Women, once married, not to come back — The much-married 
Second Protector — Hun and Turk customs about taking over wives — 
Clan marriages of doubtful legality — Succession rules — Ts'u irregularities 
and caprice — Elder brothers by inferior wives — Paranymphs, or under- 
studies of the wife — Women always under some man's power — In- 
cestuous fathers — Lex Julia introduced into Yueh by its vengeful King 
— The evil morals of the Shanghai-Ningpo region of ancient Yiieh — No 
prostitution in ancient China, except perhaps in Ts'i — No infanticide — ■ 
Incest and names ......... 242-248 



Orthodox China compared with orthodox Greece — Our persistent u tra- 
ditions " about the Tower of Babel and the Tarim Valley — Wu, Yiieh, 
and ancient traditions — The " Tribute of Yu" says nothing of Western 
origin of Chinese — No ancient knowledge of the West, nor of South 
China — The Blackwater River and the Emperor Muh — The M Tribute of 
Yii " says nothing of the supposed Western emigration of the Chinese — 
Some traditions of Chinese migrations from the south — Traditions of 
enfeoffment of vassals in Corea, about 1122 B.C. — Knowledge of China 
as defined by the First Protector, and as visited by the Second in the 
seventh century B.C. — Evidence of the Emperor's limited knowledge of 
China in 670 B.C. — Yiieh first appears in 536 B.C. — Tsin never saw the 
sea till 589 B.C. — Ts'i's ignorance of the south— Wu, Yiieh, and Ts'u 

Contents xxvii 


all purely Yang-tsz riverine states — Ts'u alone knew the south — Cheng's 
ignorance of the south — Ts'u and orthodox China of the same ancient 
stock — Tsin's ignorance of Central China — Tsin defines Chinese limits 
for Ts'u — Ancient orthodox nucleus was the " Central State," a name 
still employed to mean " China" as a whole ♦ 249-256 



Evidences still remaining in the shape of the tombs of great historical 
personages — Elephants used to work at the Wu tombs — Royal Ts'u 
tomb desecrated — Relics of 1122 B.C. found in Lu — Ts'in destitute of 
relics — Confucius and the Duke of Chou's relics — Each generation of 
Chinese sees and doubts not of its own antiquities — No reason for 
European scepticism — Native critics know much more than we do 257-260 


From ancient times Tartars intimately connected with the Chinese — How 
the Chou state had to migrate to avoid the Tartars — Chou ancestors had 
originally fled from China to the Tartars — Chou family's subsequent 
dealings with the Tartars — How Ts'in replaced Chou as the semi- 
Tartar or westernmost state of China — Tartars for many centuries in 
possession of Yellow River north bank — Once extended to Kiang Su 
province — Confucius' knowledge of the Tartars — Tartar attacks in the 
eighth and seventh centuries B.C. — Causes of the Protector system — In- 
competence of Emperors to stave off Tartar attacks — Ts'i's extensive 
relations with the Tartars — The Second Protector and his adviser — Rude 
treatment of the Second Protector by the orthodox Chinese states — 
Ts'u's bluff hospitality — Second Protector had to check Chinese instead 
of Tartar ambitions — Tsin's Tartar admixture — Comparison with 
Roman adventurers — How Tartars have in modern times ruled China 
and Asia 261-265 



Music in Chinese life — Confucius' present dwelling and the ancient instru- 
ments therein — Comparison with Wagner's Ring— Musicians as cor- 
rupters of simplicity— Tsin and Ts'in dialects— Music as an adjunct to 
government — Confucius' views on music — Ts'u music — The effect of 
music on the mind — Rewards in the shape of right to play certain tunes 
— The Emperor Muh's music — Music coupled with soothsaying— Lao-tsz 
on benevolence and justice — Playing the banjo— Music at sacrifice or 
worship— Modern abstinence from music— First August Emperor com- 
pared with Saul and his music 266-269 

xxviii Contents 



Ancient and modern ideas of wealth — Ts'in and Ts'u valuables — Furniture 
— Mats and divans — Tea and wine — Tartar couches — Inlaid ivory sofas 
— State treasure — Wealth in horses — Silks and furs in Tsin and Ts'u — 
Women as property — Pearls and jade as portable property — A Chinese 
Croesus — Escape by sea to Shan Tung — Gold as money — Bribery with 
11 metal " — Iron and gold mines in Wu — Fine Wu swords — " Cash " as 
coins — Ts'u money — Weight of a gold piece — Cooks important person- 
ages — " Meat-eaters " meant the ruling classes — Silk universal — Poor 
wore hemp — No cotton — Ts'in custom of wearing swords — Jade marks 
of rank — Sports — Egret fights — War hunts — Horses in Peking plain — 
Hunting chariots and " shaft -gates" — Ydmen t ya t and Turkish encamp- 
ments — Cockfighting — Lifting heavy weights — Ball games — Women at 
looms — Little said of family life — No homely pastimes — No squeezed 
feet — Helplessness of the people under their taskmasters . . 270-276 


Confucius — His merits — His imperial and ducal origin — Migration of his 
family from Sung to Lu — His warrior father — His quaint childish 
fancies — Lu officer foretells his greatness — His first pupils — His appoint- 
ment as steward — His visit to Lao-tsz — No reason for mentioning this 
visit in history — Neither philosopher yet M great " — Lu in a quandary — 
Helplessness of the Emperor under Tsin, Ts'i, and Ts'u pressure — 
Yen-tsz sees Confucius, and discusses Ts'in's greatness — Studying the 
Rites at Lu — Date of Confucius' visit to Lao-tsz — Struggle of great 
families for popular rights — Confucius offers services to Ts'i — Examines 
Rites of Hia — Yen-tsz's jealousy of Confucius — Confucius back in Lu — 
His literary labours — His official posts and his views on law — Ts'i 
overborne by Wu — Ts'i's attempt at assassination defeated by Confucius' 
diplomacy — Treaty between Lu and Ts'i — Civil war in Lu — Confucius 
Premier — Successful administration — Confucius leaves Lu in disgust — 
His treatment in Wei state — Leaves Wei, but returns to old friend there 
— Confucius' suspicious visit to a lady — Leaves disgusted vid Sung for 
Ts'ao — Visits to Cheng (mistaken for Tsz-ch'an) and Ch'en — A prey to 
rival ambitions — Episode of the Manchurian bustard — Revisits Wei — 
Arrested ; solemn promise broken — Base behaviour — Starts to visit Tsin 
— Confucius' enemy repents — Arrangements to get Confucius back to 
Lu — He first visits Ts'ai — Excursion to Ts'u — Three years more in Ts'ai 
— Ts'u's literary status — Competition amongst princes for Confucius' 
services — Confucius and war — Reaches Lu after fourteen years of 
wandering — Confucius' travels the same as the Second Protector's — 
Consoles himself with literature — Popularizes history — Edits the Changes 
and the Odes— His history— The Tso Chwan . . . . 277-291 

Contents xxix 



Historians had to be careful — Reverence for rulers — Confucius' feelings — 
His failings — All on the surface — His concealments — His artful 
censures — Sanctity of the classes — Confucius' meannesses and indiscre- 
tions — Allowances must be made for time and place — Tsz-ch'an quite as 
good a man— Reasons for permanency of Confucian system — Reasons 
for Lao-tsz not being mentioned — All Chinese statesman-philosophers 
were, or tried to be, practical — First mention of Lao-tsz's new Taoism — 
Lao-tsz well known 400 B.C. — State intercourse before Confucius' time 
— Philosophy taught by word of mouth — Cheapening of books accounts 
for spread of knowledge — Description of ancient books — Confucius was 
young when he visited Lao-tsz — Lao-tsz's book in ancient character — 
Meagreness of details evidence of rigid truth — Obscurity of the Emperor 
— Difficult questions of fact answered — How Lao-tsz was visited — Proofs 
of genuineness — Originals must be studied by foreign critics . 292-299 



Consulting the oracles — The Changes, or Book of Diagrams — Ts'u and Ts'i 
as instructors of Chou — Tortoise augury — Consulting ancestors — 
Heaven's decree — Heaven's spontaneous manifestations of favour — 
Astrology — Prognostication — Text of the Changes survives unmutilated 
— Ts'in consults oracles about moving capital — Ts'in's greatness foretold 
— Omens — Dies nefas — Oracles in the battlefield — Prophecy in Tsin, 
Ts'u, and Lu — Shuh Hiang's scepticism — Tsz-ch'an and the omen of 
fighting snakes — Children sing prophetic songs — "Passing on" 
threatened evil — Tortoise oracles in Ts'u and Wu — High status of 
diviners — "Transferring" evil in Ts'u — Rivers as gods — Our own 
prophecies— Good faith and truth 300-305 



Personal character of wars — People's interests ignored — Instances — Com- 
parisons with the Golden Fleece and Naboth's vineyard — Second 
Protector avenges scurvy treatment — The halt, the maim, and the blind 
— Jephthah's rash vow — Divinity of kings — Ts'u more tyrannical than 
China — Responsibility of Chinese before Heaven — The King can do no 
wrong — Emperors reign under Heaven — Heaven in the confidence of 
rulers — Sacred person of kings — Distinction between official and private 
death — Double chivalry of a Tsin general — The gods and Tsz-ch'an's 
scepticism ,.«....... 306-309 

Appendices 311-316 

Index 317-332 


f_For the illustration of the Wuchuan vase, and the inscription thereon, I am indebted to 
Dr. S. W. Bushell, M.D., from whose work on " Chinese Art " (vol. i. p. 82) the plates 
(kindly lent by H.M. Stationery Office) are taken. For the photograph of the Duke of 
"Propagating Holiness " (i.e. Confucius) I am indebted to the Jesuit Fathers of Shanghai, 
and to Father Tschepe, who obtained it from his Grace.] 

I. Tripod of the Chou dynasty, date 812 B.C. In 1565 a.d. 
it was placed by the owner for safety in a temple on 
Silver Island (near Chinkiang), where it may be seen 

Taken (by kind permission of the author) from Dr. 
S. W. Bushell's " Chinese Art," vol. i. p. 82 . 


2. K'ung Ling-i, the hereditary Yen-sMng Kung^ or " Pro- 
pagating Holiness Duke " ; 76th in descent from 
K'ung K'iu, alias K'ung Chung-ni, the original 
philosopher, 551-479 B.C. 

This portrait was presented to "the priest P'eng " 
(Father Tschepe, S.J.), on the occasion of his visit last 
autumn (7th moon, 33rd year) ..... 

To face page 81 

3. Original inscription on the Sacrificial Tripod, together 
with (1) transcription in modern Chinese character (to 
the right), and (2) an account of its history (to the left). 
Taken from Dr. Bushell's " Chinese Art " . 



1. Map 

2. „ 

3- » 

4» >> 

5- »> 

6. „ 

7- n 

8. n 

9. 11 

To face page 










1. The other small maps will explain each section more in 

2. This map is intended to give a general idea of the ex- 
tremely limited area of the empire in the sixth century B.C. 

3. Like the modern Sultan, the Chow Emperor was gradually 
driven into a corner, surrounded by Bulgarias, Servias, Egypts, 
and other countries once under his effective rule ; and, like the 
Sultan, the Chou Emperor remained spiritual head for many 
centuries after the practical dismemberment of his empire. 

4. Until quite recent times, the true source of the Yang-tsz 
had been unknown to the Chinese, and the River Min has been, 
and even still is, considered to be the chief head-water. It flows 
through the rich country of ancient Shuh, now the administra- 
tive centre of Sz Ch'wan province. 

5. Even now the Yang-tsz River is practically the only 
great route from China into Sz Ch'wan, and in ancient times the 
rapids were probably not negotiable by large craft. 

6. The land routes into Sz Ch'wan from the head- waters of 
the Wei and Han Rivers are all extremely precipitous. It was 
not until 200 B.C. that any military road was attempted. 

7. Ancient China meant the Yellow River. Then the Han 
and the Hwai. Next the Yang-tsz. Last the Sz Ch'wan tribu- 
taries of the Yang-tsz. It was through the lakes and rivers 
south of the Yang-tsz that China at last colonized the south. 


r j 

r -S.V 





The year 842 B.C. may be considered the first accurate 
date in Chinese history, and in this year the Emperor had to 
flee from his capital on account of popular dissatisfaction 
with his tyrannical ways : he betook himself northward to 
an outlying settlement on the Tartar frontier, and the charge 
of imperial affairs was taken over by a regency or duumvirate. 

At this time the confederation of cultured princes called 
China — or, to use their own term, the Central Kingdom — was 
a very different region from the huge mass of territory familiar 
to us under those names at the present day. It is hardly an 
exaggeration to say that civilized China, even at that compara- 
tively advanced period, consisted of little more than the modern 
province of Ho Nan. All outside this flat and comparatively 
riverless region inhabited by the " orthodox " was more or less 
barbaric, and such civilization as it possessed was entirely the 
work of Chinese colonists, adventurers, or grantees of fiefs 
in partibus infidelium (so to speak). Into matters of still 
earlier ancient history we may enter more deeply in another 
chapter, but for the present we simply take China as it was 
when definite chronology begins. 

The third of the great dynasties which had ruled over 
this limited China had, in 842 B.C., already been on the 
imperial throne for practically three hundred years, and, 

1 B 


2 Ancient China Simplified 

following the custom of its predecessors, it had parcelled out 
all the land under its sway to vassal princes who were, subject 
to the general imperial law and custom, or ritual, together 
with the homage and tribute duty prescribed thereunder, all 
practically absolute in their own domains. Roughly speaking, 
those smaller fiefs may be said to have corresponded in size 
with the walled-city and surrounding district of our own 
times, so well known under the name of Men. About a 
dozen of the larger fiefs had been originally granted to the 
blood relations of the dynastic founder in or after 1122 B.C. ; 
but not exclusively so, for it seems to have been a point of 
honour, or of religious scruple, not to " cut off the sacrifices " 
from ruined or disgraced reigning families, unless the 
attendant circumstances were very gross ; and so it came to 
pass that successive dynasties would strain a point in order 
to keep up the spiritual memory of decayed or rival houses. 

Thus, at the time of which we speak (842 B.C.), about 
ten of the dozen or so of larger vassal princes were either of 
the same clan as the Emperor himself, or were descended 
from remoter branches of that clan before it secured the 
imperial throne ; or, again, were descended from ministers 
and statesmen who had assisted the founder to obtain empire ; 
whilst the two or three remaining great vassals were lineal 
representatives of previous dynasties, or of their great ministers, 
keeping up the honour and the sacrifices of bygone historical 
personages. As for the minor fiefs, numbering somewhere 
between a thousand and fifteen hundred, these play no part 
in political history, except as this or that one of them may 
have been thrust prominently forward for a moment as a 
pawn in the game of ambition played by the greater vassals. 
Nominally the Emperor was direct suzerain lord of all vassals, 
great or small ; but in practice the greater vassal princes 
seem to have been what in the Norman feudal system were 
called " mesne lords " ; that is, each one was surrounded by 

Ancient China Simplified 3 

his own group of minor ruling lords, who, in turn, naturally 
clung for protection to that powerful magnate who was most 
immediately accessible in case of need ; thus vassal rulers 
might be indefinitely multiplied, and there is some vagueness 
as to their numbers. 

Just as the oldest civilizations of the West concentrated 
themselves along the banks of the Euphrates and the Nile, 
so the most ancient Chinese civilization is found concentrated 
along the south bank of the Yellow River. The configuration 
of the land as shown on a modern map assists us to understand 
how the industrious cultivators and weavers, finding the flat 
and so-called loess territory too confined for their ever-increas- 
ing numbers, threw out colonies wherever attraction offered 
and wherever the riverine systems gave them easy access \ 
whether by boat and raft ; or whether-as seems more prob- 
able, owing to the scanty mention of boat-travel-by simply 
following the low levels sought by the streams, and tilling 
on their way such pasturages as they found by the river-sides 
When it is said that the earliest Chinese we know of 
clung to the Yellow River bed, it must be remembered that 

the River" (as they call it simply) turned sharp to the J 
north at a point in Ho Nan province very far to the west of " 
its present northerly course, near a city marked in the modern 
maps as Jung-tseh, in Iat. 35 ° N, long. n 4 ° R, or there- 
abouts ; moreover, its course further north lay considerably to 
the westward of the present Grand Canal, taking possession 
now of the bed of the Wei River, now of that of the Chang 
River, according to whether we regard it before or after the 
year 602 B.C. ; but always entering the Gulf near modern 
Tientsin. Hence we need not be surprised to find that the 
Conqueror or Assertor of the dynasty had conferred upon a 
staunch adviser, of alien origin, and upon two of his most 
trusty relatives, the three distant fiefs which commanded both 
sides of the Yellow River mouth, at that time near the 

4 Ancient China Simplified 

modern Tientsin. There was no Canal in those days, and 
the river which runs past Confucius' birth-place, and now goes 
towards feeding the Grand Canal, had then a free course 
south-east towards the lakes in Kiang Su province to the north 
of Nanking. It will be noticed that quite a network of 
tributary rivers take their rise in Ho Nan province, and 
trend in an easterly direction towards the intricate Hwai 
£££ River system. The River Hwai, which has a great history in 

the course of Chinese development, was in quite recent times 
taken possession of by the Yellow River for some years, 
and since then the Grand Canal and the lakes between them 
have so impeded its natural course that it may be said to 
have no natural delta at all ; to be dissipated in a dedalus of 
salt flats, irrigation channels, and marshes : hence it is not 
so obvious to us now why the whole coast-line was at the 
period we are now describing, when there was no Grand 
Canal, quite beyond the reach of Chinese colonization from 
the Yellow River valley : this was only possible in two 
directions — firstly to the south, by way of the numerous 
ramifications of the Han River, which now, as then, joins the 
Yang-tsz Kiang at Hankow ; and secondly to the south-east, 
by way of the equally numerous ramifications of the Hwai 
River, which entered the sea in lat. 34 N. No easy emigra- 
tion to the westward or south-westward was possible in those 
comparatively roadless days, for not a single river pointed out 
the obvious way to would-be colonists. 

Accustomed as we now are to regard China as one vast 
homogeneous whole, approachable to us easily from the sea, 
it is not easy for us to understand the historical lines of 
expansion without these preliminary explanations. Corea and 
Japan were totally unknown even by name, and even Liao 
Tung, or " East of the River Liao," which was then inhabited 
by Corean tribes, was, if known by tradition at all, certainly 
only in communication with the remote Chinese colony, or 

Ancient China Simplified 5 

vassal state, in possession of the Peking plain : on the other 
hand, this vassal state itself (if it had records of its own 
at all), for the three centuries previous to 842 B.C., had no 
political relations with the federated Chinese princes, and 
nothing is known of its internal doings, or of its immediate 
relations (if any) with Manchus and Coreans. The whole 
coast-line of Shan Tung was in the hands of various tribes 
of " Eastern Barbarians." True, a number of Chinese vassal 
rulers held petty fiefs to the south and the east of the two 
highly civilized principalities already described as being in 
possession of the Lower Yellow River; but the originally 
orthodox rulers of these petty colonies are distinctly stated 
to have partly followed barbarian usage, even despite their 
own imperial clan origin, and to have paid court to these 
two greater vassals as mesne lords, instead of direct to the 
Emperor. South of these, again, came the Hwai group of 
Eastern barbarians in possession of the Lower Hwai valley, 
and the various quite unknown tribes of Eastern barbarians 
occupying the marshy salt flats and shore accretions on the 
Kiang Su coast right down to the River Yang-tsz mouth. 

As we shall see, a century or two later than 842 B.C. 
powerful semi- Chinese states began to assert themselves 
against the federated orthodox Chinese princes lying to their 
north ; but, when dated history first opens, Central China 
knew nothing whatever of any part of the vast region lying 
to the south of the Yang-tsz ; nothing whatever of what 
we now call Yiin Nan and Sz Ch'wan, not to say of the 
Indian and Tibetan dominions lying beyond them ; & fortiori 
nothing of Formosa, Hainan, Cochin-China, Tonquin, Burma, 
Siam, or the various Hindoo trading colonies advancing from 
the South Sea Islands northwards along the Indo-Chinese 
coasts ; nothing whatever of Tsaidam, the Tarim Valley, the 
Desert, the Persian civilization, Turkestan, Kashgaria, Tartary, 
or Siberia. 

6 Ancient China Simplified 

It is, and will here be made, quite clear that the whole 
of the left bank of the Yellow River was in possession 
of various Turkish and Tartar-Tibetan tribes. The only 
exception is that the south-west corner of Shan Si province, 
notably the territory enclosed between the Yellow River 
and the River Fen (which, running from the north, bisects 
Shan Si province and enters the Yellow River about 
l at - 35° 30' N., long, no 30' E.) was colonized by a branch 
of the imperial family quite capable of holding its own 
against the Tartars ; in fact, the valley of this river as far 
north as P'ing-yang Fu had been in semi-mythical times 
(2300 B.C.) the imperial residence. It will be noticed that the 
River Wei joins the Yellow River on its right bank, just oppo- 
site the point where this latter, flowing from the north, bends 
eastwards, the Wei itself flowing from the west. This Wei 
Valley (including the sub-valleys of its north-bank tributaries) 
was also in 842 B.C. colonized by an ancient Chinese family 
— not of imperial extraction so far as the reigning house 
was concerned — which, by adopting Tartar, or perhaps Tartar- 
Tibetan, manners, had for many generations succeeded in 
acquiring a predominant influence in that region. Assuming 
that — which is not at all improbable — the nomad horsemen 
in unchallenged possession of the whole desert and Tartar 
expanse had at any time, as a consequence of their raids 
in directions away from China westward, brought to China 
any new ideas, new commercial objects, or new religious 
notions, these novelties must almost necessarily have filtered 
through this semi-Chinese half-barbarous state in possession 
of the Wei Valley, or through other of their Tartar kinsmen 
periodically engaged in raiding the settled Chinese cultivators 
farther east, along the line of what is now the Great Wall^ 
and the northern parts of Shan Si and Chih Li provinces. 

We shall allude in a more convenient place and chapter 
to specific traditions touching the supposed journeys about 

Ancient China Simplified 7 

990 B.C. of a Chinese Emperor to Turkestan ; the alleged 
missions from Tonquin to a still earlier Chinese Emperor or 
Regent ; and the pretended colonization of Corea by an 
aggrieved Chinese noble — all three events some centuries 
earlier than the opening period of dated history of which 
we now specially speak. For the present we ignore them, 
as, even if true, these events have had, and have now, no 
specific or definite influence whatever on the question of 
Chinese political development as expounded here. It seems 
certain that for many centuries previous to 842 B.C. the ruling 
and the literary Chinese had known of the existence of at 
least the Lower Yang-tsz and its three mouths (the Shanghai 
mouth and the Hangchow mouth have ceased long ago to 
exist at all) : they also seem to have heard in a vague way 
of "moving sands" beyond the great northerly bend of the 
Yellow River in Tartarland. It is not even impossible that 
the persistent traditions of two of their very ancient Emperors 
having been buried south of the Yang-tsz — one near the 
modern coast treaty-port of Ningpo, the other near the modern 
riverine treaty-port of Ch'ang-sha — may be true ; for nothing 
is more likely than that they both met their death whilst 
exploring the tributaries of the mysterious Yang-tsz Kiang 
lying to their south ; because the father of the adventurous 
Emperor who is supposed to have explored Tartary in 990 B.C. 
certainly lost his life in attempting to explore the region 
of Hankow, as will be explained in due course. 

All this, however, is matter of side issue. The main point 
we wish to insist upon, by way of introduction, in endeavour- 
ing to give our readers an intelligible notion of early Chinese 
development, is that Chinese beginnings were like any 
other great nation's beginnings — like, for instance, the Greek 
beginnings ; these were centred at first round an extremely 
petty area, which, gradually expanding, threw out its tentacles 
and branches, and led to the final inclusion of the mysterious 

8 Ancient China Simplified 

Danube, the gloomy Russian plain, the Tin Islands, Ultima 
Thule, and the Atlantic coasts into one fairly harmonious 
Graeco-Roman civilization. Or it may be compared to the 
development of the petty Anglo-Saxon settlements and 
kingdoms and sub-kingdoms, and their gradual political 
absorption of the surrounding Celts. In any case it may be 
said that there is nothing startlingly new about it ; it followed 
a normal course. 



HAVING now seen how the Chinese people, taking advantage 
of the material and moral growth naturally following upon 
a settled industrial existence, and above all upon the exclusive 
possession of a written character, gradually imposed themselves 
as rulers upon the ignorant tribes around them, let us see to 
what families these Chinese emigrant adventurers or colonial 
satraps belonged. To begin with the semi-Tartar power in 
the River Wei Valley — destined six hundred years later to 
conquer the whole of China as we know it to-day — the ruling 
caste claimed descent from the most ancient (and of course 
partly mythological) Emperors of China ; but for over a 
thousand years previous to 842 B.C. this remote branch of the 
Chinese race had become scattered and almost lost amongst 
the Tartars. However, a generation or two before our opening 
period, one of these princes had served the then ruling imperial 
dynasty as a sort of guardian to the western frontier, as a 
rearer of horses for the metropolitan stud, and perhaps even as 
a guide on the occasion of imperial expeditions into Tartar- 
land. The successor of the Emperor who was driven from his 
capital in 842 B.C. about twenty years later employed this 
western satrap to chastise the Tartar nomads whose revolt 
had in part led to the imperial flight. After suffering some 
disasters, the conductors of this series of expeditions were at 
last successful, and in 815 B.C. the title of "Warden of the 


io Ancient China Simplified 

Western Marches " was officially conferred on the ruler for 
the time being of this western state, who in 777 B.C. had the 
further honour of seeing one of his daughters married to 
the Emperor himself. This political move on the part of the 
Emperor was unwise, for it led indirectly to the Tartars, who 
were frequently engaged in war with the Warden, interfering 
in the quarrels about the imperial succession, in which question 
the Tartars naturally thought they had a right to interfere 
in the interests of their own people. The upshot of it was 
that in 771 B.C. the Emperor was killed by the Tartars in 
battle, and it was only by securing the military assistance of 
the semi-Tartar Warden of the Marches that the imperial 
dynasty was saved. As it was, the Emperor's capital was 
permanently moved east from the immediate neighbourhood 
of what we call Si-ngan Fu in Shen Si province to the 
immediate neighbourhood of Ho-nan Fu in the modern Ho 
Nan province ; and as a reward for his services the Warden was 
granted nearly the whole of the original imperial patrimony 
west of the Yellow River bend and on both sides of the Wei 
Valley. This was also in the year 771 B.C., and this is really 
one of the great pivot-points in Chinese history, of equal 
weight with the almost contemporaneous founding of Rome, 
and the gradual substitution of a Roman centre for a Greek 
centre in the development and civilization of the Far West. 
The new capital was not, however, a new city. Shortly after 
the imperial dynasty gained the possession of China in 
1 122 B.C., it had been surveyed, and some of the regalia had 
been taken thither ; this, with a view of making it one of 
the capitals at least, if not the sole capital. 

As Chinese names sound uncouth to our Western ears, 
and will, therefore, in these introductory chapters only be 
used sparingly and gradually, it becomes correspondingly 
difficult to explain historical phenomena adequately whilst 
endeavouring to avoid as far as possible the use of such 

Ancient China Simplified u 

unintelligible names : it will be well, then, to sum up the 
situation, and even repeat a little, so that the reader may 
assimilate the main points without fatigue or repulsion. The 
reigning dynasty of Chou had secured the adhesion of the Ji\ 
thousand or more of Chinese vassal princes in 1122 B.C., and 
had in other words " conquered " China by invitation, much 
in the same way, and for very much the same general 
reasons, that William III. had accepted the conquest of 
the British Isles ; that is to say, because the people were 
dissatisfied with their legitimate ruler and his house. But, 
before this conquest, the vassal princes of Chou had occupied 
practically the same territory, and had stood in the same 
relation to the imperial dynasty subsequently ousted by them 
in 1 122, that the Wardens of the Marches occupied and stood 
in when the imperial house of Chou in turn fled east in 
771 B.C. The Shang dynasty thus ousted by the Chou tfe j|J 
princes in 1122, had for like misgovernment driven out the 
Hia dynasty in 1766 B.C. Thus, at the time when the 
Wardens of the Marches (whose real territorial title was 
Princes of Ts'in) practically put the imperial power into 
commission in 771 B.C., the two old-fashioned dynasties of 
Shang and Chou had already ruled patriarchally for almost 
exactly one thousand years, and nothing of either a very 
startling, or a very definite, character had taken place at all 
within the comparatively narrow area described in our first 

From this date of 771 B.C., and for five hundred years more 
down to 250 B.C., when the Chou dynasty was extinguished, 
the rule of the feudal Emperors of China was almost purely 
nominal, and except in so far as this or that powerful vassal 
made use of the moral, and even occasionally of the military 
power of the metropolitan district when it suited his purpose, 
the imperial ruler was chiefly exercised in matters of form 
and ritual ; for under all three patriarchal dynasties it was 


12 Ancient China Simplified 

on form and ritual that the idea of government had always 
been based. Of course the other powerful satraps — especially 
the more distant ones, those not bearing the imperial clan- 
name, and those more or less tinged with barbarian usages — 
learning by degrees what a helpless and powerless personage 
the Emperor had now become, lost no time in turning the 
novel situation to their own advantage: it is consequently now 
that begins the " tyrant period," or the period of the " Five 
T, !?| Dictators," as the Chinese historians loosely term it : that 
uyu ^ (:>cu is to say, the period during which each satrap who had the 
power to do so took the lead of the satrap body in general, 
and gave out that he was restoring the imperial prestige, 
representing the Emperor's majesty, carrying out the behests 
of reason, compelling the other vassals to do their duty, 
keeping up the legitimist sacrifices, and so on. In other 
words, the population of China had grown so enormously, 
both by peaceful in-breeding and by imperceptible absorption 
of kindred races, that more elbow-room was needed ; more 
freedom from the shackles of ritual, rank, and feudal caste ; 
more independence, and more liberty to take advantage of 
local or changed traditions. Besides all this, the art of 
writing, though still clumsy, expensive, and confined in its 
higher and literary aspects to the governing classes, had 
recently become simplified and improved ; the salt trade, 
iron trade, fish industry, silk industry, grain trade, and art 
of usury had spread from one state to the other, and had 
developed : though the land roads were bad or non-existent, 
there were great numbers of itinerant dealers in cattle and 
army provisions. In a word, material civilization had made 
great strides during the thousand years of patriarchal rule 
immediately preceding the critical period comprised between 
the year 842 B.C. and the year 771 B.C. The voices of the 
advocates and the preachers of ancient patriarchal virtues 
were as of men crying in a wilderness of substantial prosperity 

Ancient China Simplified 13 

and manly ambition. Thus political and natural forces 
combined with each other to prepare the way for a radical 
change, and this period of incipient revolution is precisely 
the period (722-480) treated of in Confucius' history, the first 
history of China — meagre though it be — which deals with 
definite human facts, instead of " beating the air " (as the 
Chinese say) with sermons and ritualistic exhortations. 



We have already alluded to a princely family, of the same 
clan-name as the Chou Emperor, which had settled in the 
southern part of modern Shan Si province, and had thus 
acted as a sort of buffer state to the imperial domain by 
keeping off from it the Tartar-Turk tribes in the north. This 
family was enfeoffed by the new Chou dynasty in 1 106" B.C. 
to replace the extremely ancient princely house which had 
reigned there ever since the earliest Emperors ruled from 
that region (2300 B.C.), but which had resisted the Chou 
conquest, and had been exterminated. Nothing definite is 
known of what transpired in this principality subsequently to 
the infeoffment of 1 106 B.C., and prior to the events of 771 B.C., 
at which latter date the ruling prince, hearing of the disaster 
to his kinsman the Emperor, went to meet that monarch's 
fugitive successor, and escorted him eastwards to his new 
capital. This metropolis had, as we have explained already, 
been marked out some 340 years before this, and had con- 
tinued to be one of the chief spiritual and political centres 
in the imperial domain ; but for some reason it had never 
before 771 B.C. been officially declared a capital, or at all 
events the capital. Confucius, in his history, does not mention 
at all the petty semi-Tartar state of which we are now 
speaking before 671 B.C., and all that we know of its doings 
during this century of time is that rival factions, family in- 
trigues, and petty annexations at the cost of various Tartar 
tribes, and of small, but ancient, Chinese principalities, 


Ancient China Simplified 15 

occupied most of its time. It must be repeated here, how- 
ever, that, notwithstanding Tartar neighbours, the valley of 
the River Fen had been the seat of several of China's oldest 
semi-mythical emperors — possibly even of dynasties, — and at 
no time do the Tartars seem to have ever succeeded in 
ousting the Chinese from South Shan Si. The official name 
of the region after the Chou infeofTment of 1106 B.C. was 
the State of Tsin, and it was roughly divided off to the 
west from its less civilized colleague Ts'in by the Yellow 
River, on the right bank of which Tsin still possessed a 
number of 'towns. It is particularly difficult for Europeans 
to realize the sharp distinction in sound between these two 
names, the more especially because we have in the West 
no conception whatever of the effect of tone upon a syllable 
It may be explained, however, that the sonant initial and 
even-voiced tone in the one case, contrasted with the surd 
initial and the scaled tone in the other, involves to the 
Chinese mind a distinction quite as clear in all dialects as 
the European distinction in all languages between the two 
states of Prussia and Russia, or between the two peoples 
Swedes and Swiss : it is entirely the imperfection of our 
Western alphabet, not at all that of the spoken sounds or 
the ideographs, that is at fault. 

The Yellow River, running from north to south, not only 
roughly separated from each other these two Tartar-Chinese 
buffer states in the north-west, but the same Yellow River, 
flowing east, and its tributary, the River Wei, also formed 
a rough boundary between the two states of Tsin and Ts'in 
(together) to the north, and the innumerable petty but ancient 
Chinese principalities surrounding the imperial domain to 
the south. These principalities or settlements were scattered 
about among the head- waters of the Han River and the 
Hwai River systems, and their manifest destiny, if they 
needed expansion, clearly drove them further southwards, 


1 6 Ancient China Simplified 

following the courses of all these head-waters, towards the 
Yang-tsz Kiang. But, more than that, the Yellow River, 
after thus flowing east for several hundred miles, turned 
sharp north in long. 114 E., as already explained, and 
thence to the north-east formed a second rough boundary 
between Tsin and nearly all the remaining orthodox Chinese 
states. Tsin's chief task was thus to absorb into its ad- 
ministrative system all the Tartar raiders that ventured 
south to the Yellow River. 

But there was a third northern state engaged in the task 
of keeping back the Tartar tribes, and in developing a 
civilization of its own — based largely, of course, upon Chinese 
principles, but modified so as to meet local exigencies. This 
was the state of Ts'i, enclosed between the Yellow River to 
the west and the sea to the east, but extending much farther 
north than the boundaries of modern Shan Tung province, 
if, indeed, the embouchure of the Yellow River, near modern 
Tientsin, did not form its northern boundary ; but the 
promontory or peninsula, as well as all the coast, was still 
in the hands of "barbarian" tribes (now long since civilized 
and assimilated), of which for many centuries past no separate 
trace has remained. We have no means of judging now 
whether these " barbarians " were uncultured, close kinsmen 
of the orthodox Chinese ; or remote kinsmen ; or quite foreign. 
When the Chou principality received an invitation by accla- 
mation to conquer and administer China in 1122, an obscure 
political worthy from these eastern parts placed his services 
as adviser and organizer at the command of the new Chou 
Emperor, in return for which important help he received 
the fief of Ts'i. Although obscure, this man traced his 
descent back to the times when (2300 B.C.) his ancestors 
received fiefs from the most ancient Emperors. From that 
time down to the year 11 22 B.C., and onwards to the events 
of 771 B.C., nothing much beyond the fact of the Chou 


TS'l & LU 

1. In 2200 B.C. the Yellow River was divided at the point where our map 
begins, and the main waters were conducted to the River Chang, which thus 
formed one river with it. But a secondary branch was conducted eastwards 
to the Rivers T'ah and Tsi (now, 1908, the Yellow River). 

2. In 602 B.C. this secondary branch suddenly turned north, followed the 
line of the present (1908) Grand Canal, and joined the main branch, i.e. the 
River Chang. 

3. The capitals of Ts'i and Lu are shown. The Yellow River divided 
Tsin from Ts'i, but Tartars harried the whole dividing line. 

Ancient China Simplified 17 

infeoffment is recorded ; but after the Emperor had been 
killed by the Tartar-Tibetans, this state of Ts'i also began 
to grow restive ; and the seventh century before Christ opens 
with the significant statement that "Ts'in, Tsin, and Ts'i, 
now begin to be powerful states." Of the three, Tsin alone 
bore the imperial Chou clan-name of Ki. 

North of the Yellow River, where it then entered the sea 
near the modern treaty-port of Tientsin, there was yet another 
great vassal state, called Yen, which had been given by the *oe 
founders of the Chou dynasty to a very distinguished blood 
relative and faithful supporter: this noble prince has been 
immortalized in beautiful language on account of the rigid 
justice of his decisions given under the shade of an apple-tree : 
it was the practice in those days to render into popular song 
the chief events of the times, and it is not improbable, indeed, 
that this Saga literature was the only popular record of the 
past, until, as already hinted, after 827 B.C., writing became 
simplified and thus more diffused, instead of being confined to 
solemn manifestoes and commandments cast or carved on 
bronze or stone. 

" Oh ! woodman, spare that tree, 
Touch not a single bough, 
His wisdom lingers now." 

The words, singularly like those of our own well-known song, 
are known to every Chinese school-boy, and with hundreds, 
even thousands, of other similar songs, which used to be 
daily quoted as precedents by the statesmen of that primitive 
period in their political intercourse with each other, were 
later pruned, purified, and collated by Confucius, until at last 
they received classical rank in the " Book of Odes " or the 
" Classic of Poetry," containing a mere tenth part of the old 
" Odes " as they used to be passed from mouth to ear. 

Even less is known of the early days of Yen than is known 
of Ts'in, Tsin, and Ts'i ; there is not even a vague tradition to 


1 8 Ancient China Simplified 

suggest who ruled it, or what sort of a place it was, before the 
Chou prince was sent there ; all that is anywhere recorded is 
that it was a very small, poor, and feeble region, dovetailed 
in between Tsin and Ts'i, and exposed north to the harass- 
ing attacks of savages and Coreans {i.e. tribes afterwards 
enumerated as forming part of Corea when the name of Corea 
became known). The mysterious region is only mentioned 
here at all on account of its distinguished origin, in order to 
show that the Chinese cultivators had from the very earliest 
times apparently succeeded in keeping the bulk of the Tartars 
to the left bank of the Yellow River all the way from the 
Desert to the sea ; because later on (350 B.C.) Yen actually 
did become a powerful state ; and finally, because if any very 
early notions concerning Corea and Japanese islands had ever 
crept vaguely into China at all, it must have been through 
this state of Yen, which was coterminous with Liao Tung and 
Manchuria. The great point to remember is, the extensive 
territory between the Great Wall and the Yellow River then 
lay almost entirely beyond the pale of ancient China, and it 
was only when Ts'in, Tsin, Ts'i, and Yen had to look else- 
where than to the Emperor for protection from Tartar inroads 
that the centre of political gravity was changed once and for 
ever from the centre of China to the north. 

We know nothing of the precise causes which conduced 
to unusual Tartar activity at the dawn of Chinese true 
history : in the absence of any Tartar knowledge of writing, 
it seems impossible now that we ever can know it. Still 
less are we in a position to speculate profitably how far the 
movements on the Chinese frontier, in 800-600 B.C., may be 
connected with similar restlessness on the Persian and Greek 
frontiers, of which, again, we know nothing very illuminating 
or specific. It is certain that the Chinese had no conception 
of a Tartar empire, or of a coherent monarchy, under the 
vigorous dominion of a great military genius, until at least 

Ancient China Simplified 19 

five centuries after the Tartars killed a Chinese Emperor in 
battle as related (771 B.C.). It is even uncertain what were 
the main race distinctions of the nomad aggregations, loosely 
styled by us "Tartars," for the simple reason that the 
ambiguous Chinese terminology does not enable us to select 
a more specific word. Nevertheless, the Chinese do make 
certain distinctions ; and, as what remains of aboriginal 
populations in the north, south, east, and west of China 
points strongly to the probability of populations in the main 
occupying the same sites that they did 3000 years ago (unless 
where specific facts point to a contrary conclusion), we may 
fairly assume that the distribution was then very much as 
now — beginning from the east, (1) Japanese, (2) Corean, 
(3) Tungusic, (4) Mongol-Turkish, (5) Turkish, (6) Turkish- 
Tibetan, and Mongol-Tibetan (or Mongol-Turkoid Tibetan), 
(7) Tibetan. The Chinese use four terms to express these 
relative quantities, which may be called X, Y, Z, and A. 
The term " X," pure and simple, never under any circum- 
stances refers to any but Tibetans (of whom at this time 
the Chinese had no recorded knowledge whatever except 
by name) ; but " X -f Y " also refers to tribes in Tibetan 
regions. The term "West Y" seems to mean Tibetan- 
Tartars, and the term " North Y " seems to mean Mongoloid- 
Tunguses. There is a third Y term, " Dog Y," evidently 
meaning Tartars of some kind, and not Tibetans of any 
sort. The term " Z " never refers to Tibetans, pure or 
mixed, but " Y + Z " loosely refers to Turks, Mongols, and 
Tunguses. The terms " Red Z," " White Z," and " North Z " 
seem to indicate Turks ; and what is more, these colour 
distinctions — probably of clothing or head-gear — continue to 
quite modern times, and always in connection with Turks 
or Mongol-Turks. The fourth term " A " never occurs before 
the third century before Christ, and refers to all Tartars, 
Coreans, etc. ; but not to Tibetans : it need not, therefore, be 

20 Ancient China Simplified 

discussed at present. The modern province of Sz ChVan 
was absolutely unknown even by name ; but several centuries 
later, as we shall shortly see, it turned out to be a state of 
considerable magnitude, with quite a little imperial history 
of its own : probably it was with this unknown state that 
the bulk of the Tibetans tried conclusions, if they tried them 
with China at all. 

Be that as it may, the present wish is to make clear that 
at the first great turning-point in genuine Chinese history 
the whole of north and west China was in the hands of 
totally unknown powers, who completely shut in the Middle 
Kingdom ; who only manifested themselves at all in the 
shape of occasional bodies of raiders ; and who, if they had 
any knowledge, direct or indirect, of India, Tibet, Turkestan, 
Siberia, Persia, etc., kept it strictly to themselves, and in any 
case were incapable of communicating it in writing to the 
frontier Chinese populations of the four buffer states above 



BUT the collapse of the imperial power in 771 B.C. led to 
restlessness in the south as well as in the north, north-western, 
and north-eastern regions : except for a few Chinese ad- 
venturers and colonists, these were exclusively inhabited by- 
nomad Tartars, and perhaps some Tibetans, destitute of fixed 
residences, cities, and towns ; ignorant of cultivation, agri- 
culture, and letters ; and roving about from pasture to pasture 
with their flocks and herds, finding excitement and diversion 
chiefly in periodical raids upon their more settled southern 
and western neighbours. 

The only country south of the federated Chinese princes 
in Ho Nan province (as we now call it) was the " Jungle " or ftl (ckCr 
" Thicket," a term which vaguely designated the lower waters 9 ^ 
of the Han River system, much as, with ourselves, the " Low- ASm 
lands " or the " Netherlands " did, and still does, designate 
the outlying marches of the English and German communities. 
" Jungle " is still the elegant literary name for Hu Peh, just 
as Ts'in, Tsin, and Ts'i are for Shen Si, Shan Si, and Shan 
Tung. The King of the Jungle, like the Warden of the 
Western Marches, traced his descent far back to the same 
ancient monarchs whose blood ran also in the veins of the 
imperial house of Chou ; and moreover this Jungle King's 
ancestors had served the founders of the Chou dynasty in 
1 1 50 B.C., whilst they were still hesitating whether to accept 
the call to empire: hence in later times (530 B.C.) the King 


22 Ancient China Simplified 

made it a grievance that his family had not received from the 
founder of the Chou dynasty presents symbolical of equality 
of birth, as had the Tsin and Lu (South Shan Tung) houses. 
If any tribes, south, south-east, or south-west of this vague 
Jungle, whose administrative centre at first lay within a 
hundred miles' radius of the modern treaty-port of Ich'ang, 
were in any way known to Central China, or were affected by 
orthodox Chinese civilization, it was and must have been 
entirely through this kingdom of the Jungle, and in a second- 
hand or indirect way. The Jungle was as much a buffer to 
the south as Ts'in was to the north-west, Tsin to the north, 
and Ts'i to the north-east. The bulk of the population was 
in one sense non- Chinese ; that is, it was probably a mixture 
of the many uncivilized mountain tribes (all speaking mono- 
syllabic and tonic dialects like the Chinese) who still survive 
in every one of the provinces south of the Yang-tsz Kiang ; 
but the ruling caste, whose administrative centre lay to the 
north of these tribes, though affected by the grossness of 
their barbarous surroundings, were manifestly more or less 
orthodox Chinese in origin and sympathy, and, even at this 
early period (771 B.C.), possessed a considerable culture, 
a knowledge of Chinese script, and a general capacity to 
live a settled economical existence. As far back as 880 B.C. 
the King of the Jungle is recorded to have governed or 
conciliated the populations between the Han and the Yang- 
tsz Rivers ; but, though he arrogated to himself for a time 
the title of " Emperor " or " King " in his own dominions, 
he confessed himself to be a barbarian, and disclaimed any 
share in the honorific system of titles, living or posthumous, 
having vogue in China, reserving it for his successors 
to assert higher rights ,when they should feel strong enough. 
Like an eastern Charlemagne, he divided his empire between 
his three sons ; and this empire, which gradually extended all 
along the Yang-tsz down to its mouths, may have included 

Ancient China Simplified 23 

in one of its three subdivisions a part at least of the Annamese 
race, as will be suggested more in detail anon. 

The first really historical king, who once more arrogated 
the supreme title in 704 B.C., took advantage of imperial 
weakness to extend his conquests not only to the south but 
to the north of the River Han, attacking petty Chinese 
principalities, and boldly claiming recognition by the Emperor 
of equality in title. " I am a barbarian," said he, " and I will 
avail myself of the dissensions among the federal princes to 
inspect Chinese ways for myself." The Emperor displayed 
some irritation at this claim of equal rank, but the King 
retorted by referring to the services rendered by his (the 
King's) ancestor, some five hundred years earlier, to the 
Emperor's ancestor, virtual founder of the Chou dynasty. 
In 689 B.C. the next king moved his capital from its old site 
above the Ich'ang gorges to the commanding central situation 
now known as King-chou Fu, just above the treaty-port of 
Sha-shl : this place historically continues the use of the old word 
Jungle (King), and has been all through the present Manchu 
dynasty (1644- 1908) the military residence of a Tartar- 
General with a Banner garrison ; that is, a garrison of privileged 
Tartar soldiers living in cantonments, and exempt from the 
ordinary laws, or, at least, the application of them. It is 
only in 684 B.C. that the Jungle state is first honoured with 
mention in Confucius' history : it was, indeed, impossible then 
to ignore its existence, because, for the first time in the annals 
of China, Chinese federal princes between the Han River and 
the westernmost head-waters of the Hwai River had been 
deliberately annexed by these Jungle " barbarians." History 
for the next 450 years from this date consists mainly of 
the intricate narration how Ts'in, Tsin, Ts'i, and the Jungle 
struggled, first for hegemony, and finally for the possession 
of all China. The Jungle was now called Ts'u. 


Having now shown, as shortly and as intelligibly as we can, 
how the germs of Chinese development were sown at the 
dawn of true history, let us proceed to examine how far that 
history, as it has come down to us, contains within it testimony 
to its own truth. We shall revert to the description of wars 
and ambitions in due course ; but, as so obscure a subject as 
early Chinese civilization is only palatable to most Western 
readers in small, varied, and sugared doses, we shall for the 
moment vary the nourishment offered, and say a few words 
upon eclipses. 

Confucius, whose bald " Spring and Autumn " annals, as 
expanded by three separate commentators (one a junior 
contemporary of himself), is really the chief authority for the 
period 722-468 B.C., was born on the 20th day after the eclipse 
of the sun which took place in the 10th month of 552 B.C., 
or the 27th of the 8th moon as worked out to-day (for 1908 
this means the 22nd September). Confucius himself records 
thirty-seven eclipses of the sun between 720 and 481, those of 
709, 601, and 549 being total. Of course, as Confucius 
primarily recorded the eclipses as seen from his own petty 
vassal state of Lu in Shan Tung province (lat. 35 40' N., long. 
117 E.), any one endeavouring to identify these eclipses, and 
to compare them with Julian or Gregorian dates, must, in 
making the necessary calculations, bear this important fact in 


Ancient China Simplified 25 

mind. It so happens that nearly one-third of Confucius' 
thirty-seven eclipses are recorded as having taken place 
between the two total eclipses of 601 and 549. This being so, 
I referred the list to an obliging officer attached to the Royal 
Observatory, who has kindly furnished me with the following 
comparative list : — 

Confucius' Date. Oppolzer's Julian Date. 

= B.C. 601, 7th moon. — 6oo, September 20. 

„ 599, 4th „ - 598, March 5. 

„ 592, 6th „ - 591, April 17. 

m 575. 6th „ - 574, May 9. 

„ 574, 12th „ - 573, October 22. 

„ 559, 2nd „ - 558, January 14. 

„ 558, 8th „ - 557, June 29. 

„ 553, 10th „ - 552, August 31. 

„ 552, 9th ,, 

„ 552, 10th „ - 551, August 20. 

„ 550, 2nd „ - 549, January 5. 

»i 549, 7th ,, - 548, April 19. 

It will be observed that there is no Oppolzer's date to 
compare with the first of the two eclipses of 552; this is 
because I omitted to notice that there had been recorded 
in the "Springs and Autumns" two so close together, and 
therefore I did not include it in the list sent to the Observa- 
tory ; but with the exception of the total eclipse of 601, all 
the other eclipses, so far as days of the moon and month go, 
are as consistent with each other as are modern Chinese 
dates with European (Julian) dates. As regards the year, 
Oppolzer's dates are the "astronomical" dates, that is, the 
astronomical year — x is the same as the year (x -f 1 ) B.C. ; 
or, in other words, the year of Christ's birth is, for certain 
astronomical exactitude purposes, interpolated between the 
years 1 B.C. and A.D. 1, as we vulgarly compute them : that 
is to say, the eclipses of the sun recorded 2,400 years ago by 
Confucius, from notes and annals preserved in his native 
state's archives as far back as 700 B.C., are found to be almost 
without exception fairly correct, with a uniform "error" of 

26 Ancient China Simplified 

about one month, despite the fact that attempts were made 
by the First August Emperor to destroy all historical literature 
in 213 B.C. This being so in the matter of a dozen eclipses, 
there still remain two dozen for specialists to experiment 
upon, not to mention comets and other celestial phenomena. 
From this collateral evidence, imperfect though it be, we 
are reasonably entitled to assume that the three expanded 
versions of Confucius' history are trustworthy, or at the very 
least written in the best of faith. 

Just as our mathematicians find no difficulty either in 
foretelling or retrospecting eclipses to a minute, so does the 
ancient "sixty" cycle, which the Chinese have from time 
immemorial used for computing or noting days and years, 
enable them, or for the matter of that ourselves, to calculate 
back unerringly any desired day. Thus, suppose the 1st 
January, 1908, is the 37th day of the perpetual cycle of sixty 
days ; then, if the Chinese historians say that an eclipse took 
place on the first day of the new moon, which began the 
9th Chinese month of the year corresponding in the main 
to our 800 B.C., and that the 1st day of the moon was also 
the 37th day of the sixty-day perpetual cycle, all we have to 
do is to take roughly six cycles for each year, six thousand 
cycles for each thousand years, allowing at the same time two 
extra cycles every third year for intercalary moons, and then 
dealing with the fractions or balance of days. If our calcula- 
tion does not bring the two 37th cyclic days together accurately, 
we must of course go into the question of how and when the 
Chinese calendars were altered, a subject that will be treated 
of in a subsequent chapter. It must be remembered that 
there can never be any question of so much as a whole year 
being involved in the balance of error ; for, with the Chinese as 
with us, one year, whenever modified, always means that space 
of time, however irregularly computed at each end of it, 
within which two solstices and two equinoxes have taken 

Ancient China Simplified 27 

place. Voltaire, in the article on " China " of his Universal 
Dictionary, remarks that "of 32 ancient Chinese eclipses, 28 
have been identified by Western mathematicians " ; and M. 
Edouard Chavannes, who has given a great deal of time and 
labour to working out the mysteries of the Chinese calendar, 
does not hesitate to claim accuracy to the very day (29th 
August) for the eclipse of the sun recorded in the Book of 
Odes (as re-edited by Confucius) as having taken place on 
the 28th cyclic day of the beginning of the 10th moon in 
Jj6 B.C. (i.e. of —775). This eclipse is of course not recorded 
in the "Springs and Autumns," which begins with the year 
722 B.C. 

The Chou dynasty, which came into power in 1122, for 
the second time put back the year a month because the 
calendar was getting confused. That is, they made what we 
should call January begin the legal year instead of February ; 
or the still more ancient March ; but some of the vassals 
either used computations of their own, or kept up those 
handed down by the two dynasties previous to that of Chou : 
hence in the Confucian histories, as expanded, there are 
frequent discrepancies in consequence of events apparently 
copied from the records of one vassal state having been 
reported to the historian of a second vassal state without 
steps having been taken to adjust the different new years. 


As the struggle for pre-eminency which we are about to 
describe involved bloodthirsty combats extending almost 
uninterruptedly over five centuries, it may be of interest to 
inquire of what consisted the paraphernalia of warfare in 
those days. It appears that among the Chinese federal 
princes, who, as we have seen, only occupied in the main the 
flat country on the right bank of the Yellow River, war- 
chariots were invariably used, which is the more remarkable 
in that after the Conquest in 220 B.C. of China by the First 
August Emperor of Ts'in, and down to this day, war-chariots 
have scarcely ever once been even named, at least as having 
been marshalled in serious battle array. The Emperor alone 
was supposed in true feudal times to possess a force of 10,000 
chariots, and even now a " 10,000-chariot " state is the 
diplomatic expression for " a great power," " a power of the 
first rank," or " an empire." No vassal was entitled to 
more than 1000 war-chariots. In the year 632 B.C., when 
Tsin inflicted a great defeat upon its chief rival Ts'u, the 
former power had 700 chariots in the field. In 589 B.C. the 
same country, with 800 chariots included in its forces, marched 
across the Yellow River and defeated the state of Ts'i, its 
rival to the east. Again in 632 Tsin offered to the Emperor 
100 chariots just captured from Ts'u, and in 613 sent 800 
chariots to the assistance of a dethroned Emperor. The best 


Ancient China Simplified 29 

were made of leather, and we may assume from this that 
the wooden ones found it very difficult to get safely over 
rough ground, for in a celebrated treaty of peace of 589 B.C. 
between the two rival states Tsin and Ts'i, the victor, lying 
to the west, imposed a condition that " your ploughed furrows 
shall in future run east and west instead of north and south," 
meaning that "no systematic obstacles shall in future be 
placed in the way of our invading chariots." 

One of the features in many of the vassal states was the 
growth of great families, whose private power was very apt 
to constrain the wishes of the reigning duke, count, or baron. 
Thus in the year 537, when the King of Ts'u was meditating 
a treacherous attack upon Tsin, he was warned that "there 
were many magnates at the behest of the ruler of Tsin, each 
of whom was equal to placing 100 war-chariots in the field." 
So much a matter of course was it to use chariots in war, 
that in the year 572, when the rival great powers of Ts'u 
and Tsin were contesting for suzerainty over one of the 
purely Chinese principalities in the modern Ho Nan province, 
it was considered quite a remarkable fact that this principality 
in taking the side of Ts'u brought no chariots with the 
forces led against Tsin. In 541 a refugee prince of Ts'u, 
seeking asylum in Tsin, only brought five chariots with him, 
on which the ruler, ashamed as host of such a poor display, 
at once assigned him revenue sufficient for the maintenance 
of 100 individuals. It so happened that at the same time 
there arrived in Tsin a refugee prince from Ts'in, bringing 
with him 1000 carts, all heavily laden. On another occasion 
the prince (not a ruler) of a neighbouring state, on visiting 
the ruler of another, brings with him as presents an eight- 
horsed chariot for the reigning prince, a six-horsed con- 
veyance for the premier, a four-horsed carriage for a very 
distinguished minister in the suite, and a two-horsed cart 
for a minor member of the mission. 

30 Ancient China Simplified 

Besides the heavy war-chariots, there were also rather more 
comfortable and lighter conveyances : in one case two generals 
are spoken of ironically because they went to the front 
playing the banjo in a light cart, whilst their colleague from 
another state — the very state they were assisting — was 
roughing it in a war-chariot. These latter seem to have 
connoted, for military organization purposes, a strength of 75 
men each, and four horses ; to wit, three heavily armed men 
or cuirassiers in the chariot itself, and 72 foot- soldiers. 
At least in the case of Tsin, a force of 37,500 men, which 
in the year 613 boldy marched off three hundred or more 
English miles upon an eastern expedition, is so described. 
On the other hand, thirty years later, a small Ts'u force is 
said to have had 125 men attached to each chariot, while the 
Emperor's chariots are stated to have had 100 men assigned 
to each. In the year 627 a celebrated battle was fought 
between the rival powers of Ts'in and Tsin, in which the 
former was utterly routed ; " not a man nor a wheel of the 
whole army ever got back." War-chariots are mentioned as 
having been in use at least as far back as 1797 B.C. by the 
Tartar- affected ancestors of the Chou dynasty, nearly 700 
years before they themselves came to the imperial power. 
The territory north of the River Wei, inhabited by them, is 
all yellow loess, deeply furrowed by the stream in question, and 
by its tributaries : there is no apparent reason to suppose that 
the gigantic cart-houses used by the Tartars, even to this day, 
had any historical connection with the swift war-chariots of 
the Chinese. 

Little, if anything, is said of conveying troops by boat in any 
of the above-mentioned countries north of the Yang-tsz River. 
None of the rivers in Shen Si are navigable, even now, for 
any considerable stretches, and the Yellow River itself has 
its strict limitations. Later on, when the King of Ts'u's 
possessions along the sea coast, embracing the delta of the 

Ancient China Simplified 31 

Yang-tsz, revolted from his suzerainty and began (as we shall 
relate in due course) to take an active part in orthodox 
Chinese affairs, boats and gigantic canal works were intro- 
duced by the hitherto totally unknown or totally forgotten 
coast powers ; and it is probably owing to this innovation that 
war-chariots suddenly disappeared from use, and that even in 
the north of China boat expeditions became the rule, as 
indeed was certainly the case after the third century B.C. 

Some idea of the limited population of very ancient China 
may be gained from a consideration of the oldest army 
computations. The Emperor was supposed to have six 
brigades, the larger vassals three, the lesser two, and the 
small ones one ; but -owing to the loose way in which a Shi y 
or regiment of 2,500 men, and a Kiln, or brigade of 12,500 
men, are alternately spoken of, the Chinese commentators 
themselves are rather at a loss to estimate how matters really 
stood after the collapse of the Emperor in 77 1 ; but though at 
much later dates enormous armies, counting up to half a 
million men on each side, stubbornly contended for mastery, 
at the period of which we speak there is no reason to believe 
that any state, least of all the imperial reserve, ever put more 
than 1000 chariots, or say, 75,000 men, into the field on any 
one expedition. 

Flags seem to have been in use very much as in the 
West. The founder of the Chou dynasty marched to the 
conquest of China carrying, or having carried for him, a 
yellow axe in the left, and a white flag in the right hand. 
In 660 one of the minor federal princes was crushed because 
he did not lower his standard in time ; nearly a century 
later, this precedent was quoted to another federal prince 
when hard-pressed, in consequence of which a sub-officer 
11 rolled up his master's standard and put it in its sheath." 
In 645 " the cavaliers under the ruler's flag " — defined to 
mean his body-guard — were surrounded by the enemy. 

32 Ancient China Simplified 

During the fifth century B.C., when the coast provinces, 
having separated from the Ts'u suzerainty, were asserting 
their equality with the orthodox Chinese princes, and two 
rival " barbarian " armies were contending for the Shanghai 
region, one royal scion was indignant when he saw the 
enemy advance "with the flag captured in the last battle 
from his own father the general." Flags were used, not only 
to signal movements of troops during the course of battle, 
but also in the great hunts or battues which were arranged in 
peace times, not merely for sport, but also in order to prepare 
soldiers for a military life. 

For victories over the Tartars in 623, the Emperor pre- 
sented the ruler of Ts'in with a metal drum ; and it seems 
that sacrificing to the regimental drum before a fight was 
a very ancient custom, which has been carried down to the 
present day. In 1900, during the "Boxer" troubles, General 
(now Viceroy) Yuan Shi-k'ai is reported to have sacrificed 
several condemned criminals to his drum before setting out 
upon his march. 

W E I 

1. Si-ngan Fu is at the junction of the King River and Wei River. The 
encircled crosses mark the oldest and the newest Ts'in capitals ; all other 
Ts'in capitals lay somewhere between the King and the Wei. 

2. From 643 B.C. to 385 B.C. Ts'in was in occupation of the territory 
between the Yellow River and the River Loh, taken from Tsin and again 
lost to Tsin at those dates. 



BEFORE we enter into a categorical description of the 
hegemony or Protector system, under which the most power- 
ful state for the time being held durbars " in camp," and in 
theory maintained the shadowy rights of the Emperor, we 
must first introduce the two coast states of the Yang-tsz 
delta, just mentioned as having asserted their independence 
of Ts'u, each state being in possession of one of the Great 
River branches. In ancient times the Yang-tsz was simply 
called the Kiang ("river"), just as the Yellow River was ^x. 
simply styled the Ho (also " river "). In those days the **! 

Great River had three mouths — the northernmost very much 
as at present, except that the flat accretions did not then 
extend so far out to sea, and in any case were for all 
practical purposes unknown to orthodox China, and entirely 
in the hands of " Eastern barbarians " ; the southerly course, 
which branched off near the modern treaty-port of Wuhu in 
An Hwei province, emerging into the sea at, or very near, 
Hangchow; and the middle course, which was practically 
the combined beds of the Soochow Creek and the Wusung 
River of Shanghai. Before the Chou dynasty came to power 
in 1 122 B.C., the grandfather of the future founder, as a 
youth, displayed such extraordinary talents, that, by family 
arrangement, his two eldest brothers voluntarily resigned 

33 D 


34 Ancient China Simplified 

their rights, and exiled themselves in the Jungle territory, 
subsequently working their way east to the coast, and adopting 
entirely, or in part, the rude ways of the barbarous tribes 
they hoped to govern. We can understand this better if we 
picture how the Phoenician and Greek merchants in turn acted 
when successively colonizing Marseilles, Cadiz, and even parts 
of Britain. Excepting doubtful genealogies and lists of rulers, 
nothing whatever is heard of this colony until 585 B.C. — say, 
800 years subsequent to the original settlement. A mal- 
content of Ts'u had, as was the practice among the rival 
states of those times, offered his services to the hated Tsin, 
then engaged in desperate warfare with Ts'u : he proposed 
to his new master that he should be sent on a mission to the 
King of Wu (for that was, and still is, for literary purposes, 
the name of the kingdom comprising Shanghai, Soochow, 
and Nanking) in order to induce him to join in attacking 
Ts'u. " He taught them the use of arrows and chariots," from 
which we may assume that spears and boats were, up to that 
date, the usual warlike apparatus of the coast power. Its 
capital was at a spot about half-way between Soochow and 
Nanking, on the new " British " railway line ; and it is 
described by Chinese visitors during the sixth century B.C. as 
being " a mean place, with low-built houses, narrow streets, a 
vulgar palace, and crowds of boats and wheelbarrows." The 
native word for the country was something like Keugu, 
which the Chinese (as they still do with foreign words, as, for 
instance, Ying for " England ") promptly turned into a con- 
venient monosyllable Ngu, or Wu. The semi-barbarous King 
was delighted at the opening thus given him to associate with 
orthodox Chinese princes on an equal footing, and to throw 
off his former tyrannical suzerain. He annexed a number of 
neighbouring barbarian states hitherto, like himself, belonging 
to Ts'u ; paid visits to the Emperor's court, to the Ts'u court, 
and to the petty but highly cultivated court of Lu (in South 

Ancient China Simplified 35 

Shan Tung), in order to " study the rites " ; and threw himself 
with zest into the whirl of interstate political intrigue. 
Confucius in his history hardly alludes to him as a civilized 
being until the year 561, when the King died ; and as his 
services to China {i.e. to orthodox Tsin against unorthodox 
Ts'u) could not be ignored, the philosopher-historian conde- 
scends to say " the Viscount of Wu died this year." It must 
be explained that the Lu capital had been celebrated for its 
learning ever since the founder of the Chou dynasty sent the 
Duke of Chou, his own brother, there as a satrap (1122 B.C.). 
Confucius, of course, wrote retrospectively, for he himself 
was only born in 551, and did not compose his " Springs and 
Autumns " history for at least half a century after that date. 
The old Lu capital of K'iih-fu on the River Sz (both still so $&%- ^ 
called) is the official headquarters of the Dukes Confucius, 
the seventy-sixth in descent from the Sage having at this 
moment direct semi-official relations with Great Britain's 
representative at Wei-hai-wei. It must also be explained 
that the vassal princes were all dukes, marquises, earls, vis- 
counts, or barons, according to the size of their states, the 
distinction of their clan or gens, and the length of their pedi- 
grees ; but the Emperor somewhat contemptuously accorded 
only the courtesy title of " viscount " to barbarian " kings," 
such as those of Ts ( u and Wu, very much as we vaguely 
speak of " His Highness the Khedive," or (until last year) 
" His Highness the Amir," so as to mark unequality with 
genuine crowned or sovereign heads. 

The history of the wars between Wu and Ts'u is extremely 
interesting, the more so in that there are some grounds for 
believing that at least some part of the Japanese civilization 
was subsequently introduced from the east coast of China, 
when the ruling caste of Wu, in its declining days, had to 
" take flight eastwards in boats to the islands to the east of the 
coast." But we shall come to that episode later on. In the 

36 Ancient China Simplified 

year 506 the capital of Ts'u was occupied by a victorious Wu 
army, under circumstances full of dramatic detail. But now, 
in the flush of success, it was Wu's turn to suffer from the 
ambition of a vassal. South of Wu, with a capital at the 
modern Shao-hing, near Ningpo, reigned the barbarian King 
of Yueh (this is a corrupted monosyllable supposed to re- 
present a dissyllabic native word something like Uviet) ; and 
this king had once been a vassal of Ts'u, but had, since 
Wu's conquests, transferred, either willingly or under 
local compulsion, his allegiance to Wu. Advances were 
made to him by Ts'u, and he was ultimately induced to 
declare war as an ally of Ts c u. There is nothing more interest- 
ing in our European history than the detailed account, full of 
personal incident, of the fierce contests between Wu and 
Yueh. The extinction of Wu took place in 483, after that 
state had played a very commanding part in federal affairs, as 
we shall have occasion to specify in the proper places. Yueh, 
in turn, peopled by a race supposed to have ethnological 
connection with the Annamese of Vietnam or " Southern 
Yueh," became a great power in China, and in 468 even 
transferred its capital to a spot on or near the coast, very near 
the German colony of Kiao Chou in Shan Tung. But its 
predominance was only successfully asserted on the coasts ; 
to use the historians' words : " Yiieh could never effectively 
administer the territory comprised in the Yang-tsz Kiang and 
Hwai River regions." 

It was precisely during this barbarian struggle, when 
federated China, having escaped the Tartars, seemed to be 
running the risk of falling into the clutches of southern 
pirates, that Confucius flourished, and it is in reference to 
the historical events sketched above — (1) the providential 
escape of China from Tartardom, (2) the collapse of the 
imperial Chou house, (3) the hegemony or Protector system, 
(4) the triumph of might over rite (right and rite being one 

Ancient China Simplified 37 

with Confucius), and (5) the desirability of a prompt return 
to the good old feudal ways — that he abandoned his own 
corrupt and ungrateful principality, began his peripatetic 
teaching in the other orthodox states, composed a warning 
history full of lessons for future guidance, and established 
what we somewhat inaccurately call a " religion " for the 
political guidance of mankind. 


L &> The first of the so-called five hegemons or lords-protector 

of the federated Chinese Empire (after the collapse of the 
imperial power, and its consequent incapacity to protect the 
vassal states from the raids of the Tartars and other bar- 
barians) was the Lord of Ts'i, whose capital was at the power- 

j? m ful and wealthy city of Lin-tsz (lat. 37 , long. 11 8° 30'; still 

so called on the modern maps), in Shan Tung province. 
Neither the Yellow River nor the Grand Canal touched Shan 
Tung in those days, and Lin-tsz was evidently situated with 
reference to the local rivers which flow north into the Gulf of 
" Pechelee," so as to take full political advantage of the salt, 
mining, and fishing industries. A word is here necessary 
as to this Protector's pedigree : we have seen that his ancestor, 
thirteen generations back, had inspired with his counsels and 
courage the founder of the imperial Chou dynasty in 1122 B.C. ; 
he had further given to the new Emperor a daughter of his 
own in marriage, had served him as premier, and had finally 
been enfeoffed in reward for his services as Marquess of Ts'i, 
the economic condition of which far-eastern principality he 
had in a very few years by his energy as ruler mightily im- 
proved, notably with reference to the salt and fish industries, 
and to general commerce. The Yellow River, then flowing 
along the bed of what is now called the Chang River, and 


Ancient China Simplified 39 

the sea, respectively, were the western and eastern limits of 

this state, which embraced to the north the salt flats now 

under the administration of a special Tientsin Commissioner, 

and extended south to the present Manchu Tartar-General's 

military garrison at Ts'ing-chou Fu. Of course, later on, j^ ^ j£f 

during the five-hundred-year period of unrest, extensions and 

cessions of territory frequently' took place, both within and 

beyond these vague limits, usually at the expense of Lu and 

other small orthodox states. Across the Yellow River, whose 

course northwards, as already stated, lay considerably to the 

west of the present channel, was the extensive state of Tsin ; 

and south was the highly ritual and literary Weimar of China, 

the unwarlike principality of Lu, destined in future times to 

be glorified by Confucius. 

Scarcely anything is recorded of a nature to throw specific 
light upon the international development of these far-eastern 
parts. But in the year 894 B.C. the reigning prince of Ts'i 
was boiled alive at the Emperor's order for some political 
offence, and his successor thereupon moved his capital, only 
to be transferred back to the old place by his son thirty-five 
years later. The imperial flight of 842 naturally caused some 
consternation even in distant Ts'i, and in 827 the next 
Emperor on his accession commanded the reigning Marquess 
of Ts'i to assist in chastising the Western Tartars. When 
this last Emperor's grandson was driven from his old 
hereditary domain in 771, and the semi-Tartar ruler of 
Ts'in took possession of the same, as already narrated, 
Ts'i was still so inconsiderable a military power that even 
two generations after that event, in the year 706, it was 
fain to apply for assistance against Northern Tartar raids to 
one of the small Chinese principalities in the Ho Nan pro- 
vince. (Roughly speaking, " Northern Tartars " were Manchu- 
Mongols, and " Western Tartars " were Mongol-Turks.) In 
690 the prince, whose sister had married the neighbouring 


Ancient China Simplified 


ruler of Lu, made an armed attack by way of vengeance 
upon the descendant of the adviser who had counselled 
the Emperor to boil his ancestor alive in 894 : his power was 
now so considerable that the Emperor commissioned him to 
act with authority in the matter of a disputed succession to 
a minor Chinese principality. This was in the year 688 B.C., 
and it was the first instance of a vassal acting as dictator or 
protector on behalf of the Emperor ; only, however, in a 
special or isolated case. Two years later this prince of Ts'i 
was himself assassinated, and the disputes between his sons 
regarding the succession terminated with the advent to the 
throne of one of the great characters in Chinese history, who 
was magnanimous and politic enough to take as his adviser 
and premier a still greater character, and one that almost 
rivals Confucius himself in fame as an author, a statesman, a 
benefactor of China, and a moralist. 

This personage, who, like most Chinese of the period, 
carried many names, is most generally known as the philo- 
sopher Kwan-tsz, and his chief writings have survived, in 
part at least, until our own day. He was, in fact, a distant 
scion of the reigning imperial family of Chou, and bore its 
clan name of Ki. Here it may be useful to state parentheti- 
cally that most prominent men in all the federated states seem 
to have belonged to a narrow aristocratic circle, among whose 
members the craft of government, the knowledge of letters, 
and the hereditary right to expect office, was inherent : at the 
same time, there was never at any date anything in the shape 
of a priestly or military caste, and power appears to have been 
always within the reach of the humblest, so long as the 
aspirant was competent to assert himself. 

The new ruler of Ts'i officially proclaimed himself Protector 
in the year 679 B.C., which is one of the fixed dates in Chinese 
history about which there is no cavil or doubt. He 
soon found himself embroiled in war with the Tartars, who 

Ancient China Simplified 41 

were raiding both the state to his north in the Peking plain, 
and also the minor state, south of the Yellow River, that 
his predecessor has protected specially in 688. This was the 
state of Wei (imperial clan), through or near the capital town 
of which, near the modern Wei-hwei Fu, the Yellow River 
then ran northwards. 

The way these successive Protectors of China afterwards 
exercised their preponderant influence in a general sense 
was this : When it appeared to them, or when any orthodox 
vassal state complained to them, that injustice was being 
done ; whether in matters of duty to the Emperor, right of 
succession, legitimacy of birth, great crime, or inordinate 
ambition ; the recognized Protector summoned a durbar, 
usually somewhere within the territory of the central area, 
or China proper as previously defined, and consulted with 
the princes, his colleagues, as to what course should be 
pursued. A distinction was drawn between "full-dress 
durbars " and " military durbars " ; the etiquette in either 
case was very minute, and external behaviour at least was 
exquisitely courteous, though treachery was far from rare, 
and treaties never lasted long unbroken. But to return 
to the First Protector. Towards the end of his glorious 
reign of forty-three years the Marquess of Ts ( i grew arrogant, 
vainglorious, and licentious, so much so that his western 
neighbour, the powerful state of Tsin, declined to attend 
the durbars. Of the other great powers Ts'in (to the west 
of Tsin) was much too far off to take active part in these 
parliaments ; Ts'u was too busy in spreading civilization 
among the barbarous states or tribes south of the Yang-tsz. 
The Emperor was practically a rot faineant by this time, 
and, curiously enough, less is known of what went on 
within his dominions or appanage after the western half of 
it fell to Ts'in in 771, than of what transpired in the territories 
of his three menacing vassals to the north, north-west, and 

42 Ancient China Simplified 

north-east, and of his half-civilized satrap to the south. The 
fact is, all four rising powers were now carefully engaged 
in watching each other, and in playing a profound political 
game around their prey. This prey was the eastern half 
of the Emperor's original domain (the western half now, 
since 771 B.C., belonging to Ts'in) and the dozen or so of 
purely Chinese, highly cultured, vassal states making up 
the rest of modern Ho Nan province, together with small 
parts or wedges of modern Chih Li, Shan Tung, An Hwei, 
and Kiang Su. From first to last none of these ritual and 
literary states showed any real fight ; there is hardly a 
single record of a really crushing victory gained by any one 
of them. The fighting instincts all lay with the new Chinese, 
that is, with the Chinese adventurers who had got their 
hand well in with generations of fighting against barbarians 
— Tartars, Tunguses, Annamese, Shans, and what not — and 
had invigorated themselves with good fresh barbarian blood. 
The fact is, the population of China had enormously in- 
creased ; the struggle for life and food was keener ; the 
old patriarchal appetite for ritual was disappearing ; the 
people were beginning to assert themselves against the land- 
owners ; the land-owners were encroaching upon the power 
of the ruling princes ; and China was in a parlous state. 



It was a fixed rule in ancient China that envoys should 
be treated with courtesy, and that their persons should be 
held sacred, whether at residential courts, in durbar, or on 
the road through a third state. During the wars of the 
sixth century B.C. between Tsin in the north and Ts'u in 
the south, when these two powers were rival aspirants to 
the Protectorate of the original and orthodox group of 
principalities lying between them, and were alternately 
imposing their will on the important and diplomatic minor 
Chinese state of Cheng (still the name of a territory in Ho 
Nan), there were furnished many illustrations of this recog- 
nized rule. The chief reason for thus making a fighting- 
ground of the old Chinese principalities was that it was 
almost impossible for Ts'u to get conveniently at any of 
the three great northern powers, and equally difficult for 
Ts'in, Tsin, and Ts'i to reach Ts'u, without passing through 
one or more Chinese states, mostly bearing the imperial 
clan name, and permission had to be asked for an army 
to pass through, unless the said Chinese state was under 
the predominancy of (for instance) Tsin or Ts'u. It was 
like Germany and Italy with Switzerland between them, or 
Germany and Spain with France between them. Another 
important old Chinese state was Sung, lying to the east of ^ 
Cheng. Both these states were of the highest caste, the #ff 


44 Ancient China Simplified 

Earl of Cheng being a close relative of the Chou Emperor, 
and the Duke of Sung being the representative or religious 
heir of the remains of the Shang dynasty ousted by the 
Chou family in 1122 B.C., magnanimously reinfeoffed "in 
order that the family sacrifices might not be entirely cut 
off" together with the loss of imperial sway. In the year 
595 B.C. Sung went so far as to put a Ts'u envoy to death, 
naturally much to the wrath of the rising southern power. 
Ts'u in turn arrested the Tsin envoy on his way to Sung, 
and tried in vain to force him to betray his trust. In 582 
Tsin, in a fit of anger, detained the Cheng envoy, and finally 
put him to death for his impudence in coming officially to 
visit Tsin after coquetting with Tsin's rival Ts'u. All these 
irregular cases are severely blamed by the historians. In 
562 Ts'u turned the tables upon Tsin by putting the Cheng 
envoy to death after the latter had concluded a treaty with 
Tsin. Confucius joins, retrospectively of course, in the 
chorus of universal reprobation. In 560 Ts'u tried to play 
upon the Ts'i envoy a trick which in its futility reminds 
us strongly of the analogous petty humiliations until recently 
imposed by China, whenever convenient occasion offered, 
upon foreign officials accredited to her. The Ts ( i envoy, who 
was somewhat deformed in person, was no less an individual 
than the celebrated philosopher Yen-tsz, a respected acquaint- 
ance of Confucius (though, of course, much his senior), and 
second only to Kwan-tsz amongst the great administrative 
statesmen of Ts'i. The half-barbarous King of Ts'u con- 
cocted with his obsequious courtiers a nice little scheme for 
humiliating the northern envoy by indicating to him the 
small door provided for his entry into the presence, such 
as the Grand Seigneurs in their hey-day used to provide 
for the Christian ambassadors to Turkey. Yen-tsz, of course, 
at once saw through this contemptible insult and said : " My 
master had his own reasons for selecting so unworthy an 

Ancient China Simplified 45 

individual as myself for this mission ; yet if he had sent 
me on a mission to a dog-court, I should have obeyed orders 
and entered by a dog-gate : however, it so happens that I 
am here on a mission to the King of Ts'u, and of course I 
expect to enter by a gate befitting the status of that ruler." 
Still another prank was tried by the foolish king : a " variety 
entertainment" was got up, in which one scene represented 
a famished wretch who was being belaboured for some 
reason. Naturally every one asked : " What is that ? " The 
answer was : " A Ts'i man who has been detected in thieving." 
Yen-tsz said : " I understand that the best fruits come from 
Ts'u, and they say we northern men cannot come near the 
quality of their peaches. We are honest simpletons, too, and 
do not look natural on the variety stage as thieves. The true 
rogue, like the true peach, is a southern speciality. I did 
see rogues on the stage, it is true, but none of them looked 
like a Ts'i man ; hence I asked, ' What is it ? ' " The king 
laughed sheepishly, and, for a time at least, gave up taking 
liberties with Yen-tsz. 

In 545, when Ts'u for the moment had the predominant 
say over Cheng's political action, it was insisted that the 
ruler of Cheng should come in person to pay his respects : 
this was after a great Peace Conference, held at Sung, on 
which occasion Tsin and Ts'u arranged a modus operandi 
for their respective subordinate or allied vassals. There was 
no help for it, and the Earl accordingly went. The minister 
in attendance was Tsz-ch'an — a very great name indeed ? 
in Chinese history ; he was a lawyer, statesman, " democratic 
conservative," sceptic, and philosopher, deeply lamented on 
his death alike by the people of Cheng, and by his friend 
or correspondent Confucius of Lu state. The Chinese 
diplomats then, as now, had the most roundabout ways of 
pointing a moral or delicately insinuating an innuendo. On 
arrival at the outskirts of the capital, instead of building the 

46 Ancient China Simplified 

usual da'fs for formalities and sacrifices, Tsz-ch'an threw up 
a mean hut for the accommodation of his mission, saying : 
" Altars are built by great states when they visit small ones 
as a symbol of benefits accorded, and by way of exhortation 
to continue in virtuous ways." Four years later Ts'u sent 
a mission of menacing size to Cheng, ostensibly to complete 
the carrying out of a marriage agreed upon by treaty 
between Ts'u and Cheng. Tsz-ch'an insisted that the bows 
and arrows carried by the escort should be left outside the 
city walls, adding : " Our poor state is too small to bear the 
full honour of such an escort ; erect your altar dais outside 
the wall for the service of the ancestral sacrifices, and we 
will there await your commands about the marriage. ,, 

In 538, when Ts c u was, for the first time, holding a durbar 
as recognized Protector, being at the time, however, on hostile 
terms with her former vassal, Wu, the King of Ts'u com- 
mitted the gross outrage of seizing the ruler of a petty state, 
who was then present at the durbar, because that ruler had 
married (being himself of eastern barbarian descent) a princess 
of Wu. The following year, when two very distinguished 
statesmen from the territory of his secular enemy Tsin came 
on a political mission, the King of Ts'u consulted his premier 
about the advisability of castrating the one for a harem eunuch, 
and cutting off the feet of the other for a door-porter. " Your 
Majesty can do it, certainly," was the reply, " but how about 
the consequences ? " This was the occasion, mentioned in 
Chapter VI., on which the king was reminded how many great 
private families there were in Tsin quite capable of raising 
a hundred chariots apiece. 

It appears that envoys, at least in Lu, were hereditary 
in some families, just as other families provided successive 
generations of ministers. A Lu envoy to Tsin, who carried 
a very valuable gem-studded girdle with him, had very great 
pressure put upon him by a covetous Tsin minister who 

Ancient China Simplified 47 

wanted the girdle. The envoy offered to give some silk 
instead, but he said that not even to save his life would he 
give up the girdle. The Tsin magnate thought better of it ; 
but it is remarkable how many cases of sordid greed of this 
kind are recorded, all pointing to the comparative absence 
of commercial exchanges, or standards of value between the 
feudal states. 

Ts'u seems to have thoroughly deserved Yen-tsz's imputa- 
tions of treachery and roguery. At the great Peace Con- 
ference held outside the Sung capital in 546, the Ts'u escort 
was detected wearing cuirasses underneath their clothing. 
One of the greatest of the Tsin statesmen, Shuh Hiang (a -fc%^ j°] 
personal friend of Yen-tsz, Confucius, and Tsz-ch'an) managed 
diplomatically to keep down the rising indignation of the 
other powers and representatives present by pooh-poohing 
the clumsy artifice on the ground that by such treachery 
Ts'u simply injured her own reputation in the federation to 
the manifest advantage of Tsin : it did not suit Tsin to 
continue the struggle with Ts'u just then. Then there was 
a squabble as to precedence at the same Peace Conference ; 
that is, whether Tsin or Ts'u had the first right to smear lips 
with the blood of sacrifice : here again Shuh Hiang tactfully 
gave way, and by his conciliatory conduct succeeded in 
inducing the federal princes to sign a sort of disarmament 
agreement. This is one of the numerous instances in which 
Confucius as an annalist tries to menager the true facts in the 
interests of orthodoxy. 

Even the more fully civilized state of Ts'i attempted an 
act of gross treachery, when in 500 B.C. the ruler of Lu, 
accompanied by Confucius as his minister in attendance, 
went to pay his respects. But Confucius was just as sharp 
as Yen-tsz and Tsz-ch'an, his friends, neighbours, and col- 
leagues : he at once saw through the menacing appearance 
of the barbarian "dances" (introduced here, again, as a 

48 Ancient China Simplified 

" variety entertainment " ), and by his firm behaviour not 
only saved the person of his prince, but shamed the ruler of 
Ts'i into disclaiming and disavowing his obsequious fellow- 
practical jokers. Yen-tsz was actually present at the time, 
in attendance upon his own marquis ; but it is nowhere alleged 
that he was responsible for the disgraceful manoeuvre. As 
a result T'si was obliged to restore to Lu several cities and 
districts wrongfully annexed some years before, and Lu 
promised to assist Ts'i in her wars. 

U M K M O 

1. The River Sz still starts at Sz-shui (cross in circle ; means u River Sz"), 
and runs past Confucius' town, K'iih-fu, into the Canal in two branches. 
But in Confucius' time what is now the Canal continued to be the River Sz, 
down to its junction with the Hwai. The River I starts still from I-shui 
(also a cross in circle ; means " River I "), passes I-chou, and used to join the 
Sz (now the Canal) at the lower cross in a circle. The neck (dotted) of the 
Hwai embouchure no longer exists, and the Lake Hung-tseh now dissipates 
itself into lakelets and canals. The Wu fleets, by sailing up the Hwai, Sz, 
and I, could get up to Lu, and threaten Ts'i. 

2. In Confucius' time the Yellow River turned north near the junction of 
the Emperor's territory with Cheng : it passed through Wei, and there divided. 
Its main branch, after coursing through part of the River Wei bed, left it and 
took possession of the River Chang bed. Up to 602 B.C. the secondary 
branch took the more easterly dotted line (the present Yellow River, once 
the River Tsi) ; but after 602 B.C. it cut through Hing, followed the Wei, 
and took the line of the present Canal. Hing was a Tartar-harried state 
contested by Ts'i and Tsin : it fell at last to Tsin. 

3. The capitals of Ts'i, Wei, Ts'ao, Cheng, Sung, Ch'en, Ts'ai (three) are 
marked with encircled crosses. K'iih-fu, the capital of Lu, is marked with 
a small circle. In 278 B.C. the Ts'u capital was moved east to Ch'en. 
In 241 B.C., underpressure of Ts'in, the Ts'u capital had to be moved to the 
double black cross on the south bank of the Hwai. 


We must now go back a little. The first of the so-called 
Five Tyrants, or the Five successive Protectors of orthodox 
China, had died in 643, his philosopher and friend, Kwan-tsz, 
having departed this life a little before him. Their joint title 
to fame lies in the fact that " they saved China from becoming 
a Tartar province," and even Confucius admits the truth of 
this — a most important factor in enabling us to understand 
the motive springs of Chinese policy. Under these circum- 
stances the Duke of Sung, who, as we have seen, had special 
moral pretensions to leadership on account of his being the 
direct lineal representative of the Shang dynasty which 
perished in 1122 B.C., immediately put forward a claim to the 
hegemony. He rather prejudiced his reputation, however, by 
committing the serious ritual offence of " warring upon Ts'i's 
mourning," that is, of engaging the allies in hostilities with the 
late Protector's own country whilst his body lay unburied, and 
his sons were still wrangling over the question of succession. 
The Tartars, however, came to the rescue of, and made a 
treaty with, Ts'i — this is only one of innumerable instances 
which show how the northern Chinese princes of those early 
days were in permanent political touch with the horse-riding 
nomads. The orthodox Duke of Sung, dressed in his little 
brief authority as Protector, had the temerity to " send for " 
the ruler of Ts'u to attend his first durbar. (It must be 
remembered that the " king " in his own dominions was only 
" viscount " in the orthodox peerage of ruling princes.) The 

49 E 

50 Ancient China Simplified 

result was that the King unceremoniously took his would-be 
protector into custody at the durbar, and put in a claim to be 
Protector himself. During the military operations connected 
with this political manoeuvre, the Duke of Sung was guilty of 
the most ridiculous piece of ritual chivalry ; highly approved, 
it is true, by the literary pedants of all subsequent ages, 
but ruinous to his own worldly cause. The Ts'u army was 
crossing a difficult ford, and the Duke's advisers recommended 
a prompt attack. " It is not honourable," said the Duke, " to 
take advantage even of an enemy in distress." " But," said 
his first adviser, " war is war, and its only object is to punish 
the foe as severely and promptly as possible, so as to gain the 
upper hand, and establish what you are fighting for." 

Meanwhile important events had been going on in the 
marquisate of Tsin, which, during the thirty-five years' hege- 
mony of Ts'i, had been engaged in extending its territory in 
all directions, in fighting Ts'in, and in annexing bordering 
Tartar tribes. At its greatest development Tsin practically 
comprised all between the Yellow River in its turns south, 
east, and north ; but, though probably half its population was 
Tartar, it never ceased to be "orthodox" in administrative 
principle. The energetic but licentious ruler of Tsin had 
married a Tartar wife in addition to his more legitimate spouse 
(daughter of the late Protector, Marquess of Ts'i) ; or, rather, 
he took two wives, the one being sister of the other, but the 
younger sister brought him no children. Before this he had 
already married two sisters of quite a different Tartar tribe, 
and each of his earlier wives had brought him a son. His 
last pair of Tartar lady-loves gained such a strong hold 
upon his affections that he was induced by the mother, being 
the elder sister of the two, to nominate her own son as his heir 
to the exclusion of the three elder brethren, who were sent 
on various flimsy pretexts to defend the northern frontiers 
against the more hostile Tartars. To complicate matters, the 

Ancient China Simplified 51 

Marquess's legitimate or first spouse, the Ts'i princess, besides 
bearing a son, had also given him a daughter, who had 
married the powerful ruler of Ts'in to the west. Thus not 
only were Ts'in and Tsin both half-Tartar in origin and 
sympathy, but at this period three out of four of the Tsin 
possible heirs were actually sons of Tartar women. The 
legitimate heir, whose mother was of Ts'i origin, and, who 
himself was a man of very high character, ended the question 
so far as he was concerned, by committing dutiful suicide ; 
the three sons by Tartar mothers succeeded to the throne one 
after the other, but in the inverse order of their respective ages. 
The story of the wanderings of the eldest brother, who did not 
come to the throne until he was sixty-two years of age, is %C ^ 
one of the most interesting and romantic episodes in the *? 

whole history of China ; and, even with the unfamiliar proper JL -3- 
names, would make a capital romantic novel, so graphically 
and naturally are some of the scenes depicted. First he 
threw himself heart and soul into Tartar life, joined the 
rugged horsemen in their internecine wars, married a Tartar 
wife, and gave her sister to his most faithful henchman ; then, 
hearing or the death of the Ts'i premier, Kwan-tsz, he vowed 
he would go to Ts'i and try to act as political adviser in his 
place. Hospitably received by the Marquess of Ts'i, he was 
presented with a charming and sensible Ts'i princess, who 
for five years exercised so enervating an influence upon his 
virility, ambition, and warlike ardour, that he had to be sur- 
reptitiously smuggled away from the gay Ts'i capital whilst 
drunk, by his Tartar father-in-law and by his chief Chinese 
henchman and brother-in-law. Then he commenced a series 
of visits to the petty orthodox courts which separated Ts'i 
from Ts'u. Several of them were rude and neglectful to this 
unfortunate prince in distress ; but Sung was an exception, for 
Sung ambition, as above narrated, had been roughly checked 
by Ts'u, and Sung now wished to make overtures to Tsin 

52 Ancient China Simplified 

instead, and to conciliate a prince who was as likely as not 
to come to the throne of Tsin. In 637 the prince reached the 
court of Ts'u, whose ruler had quite recently begun to take 
formal and official rank as a "civilized" federal prince. 
Meanwhile, news came that his brother (by his own mother's 
younger sister) was dead ; this younger brother had taken 
refuge in Ts'in during the reign of his youngest brother (the 
one born of the last Tartar favourite), and had, after that 
brother's death, been most generously assisted to the throne 
in turn by the ruler of Ts'in, on the understanding, however, 
that Tsin should cede to Ts'in all territory on the right bank 
of the Yellow River, i.e. in the modern province of Shen Si : 
but the new Tsin ruler had been persuaded by his courtiers 
to go back on this humiliating bargain, in consequence of 
which war had been declared by Ts'in upon Tsin, and the 
faithless ruler of Tsin had been for some time a prisoner of 
war in Ts'in ; but, regaining his throne through the influence 
of his half-sister, the wife of the Ts'in ruler, had died in harness 
in 637 B.C. This deceased ruler's young son was not popular, 
and Ts'in was now instrumental in welcoming the refugee 
back from Ts'u, and in leading him in triumph, after nineteen 
years of adventurous wandering, to his own ancestral throne : 
his rival and nephew was killed. 

All orthodox China seemed to feel now that the interesting 
wanderer, after all his experiences of war, travel, Tartars, 
Chinese, barbarians, and politics, was the right man to be 
Protector. But it was first necessary for Tsin to defeat Ts'u 
in a decisive battle ; a war had arisen between Tsin and Ts'u 
out of an attempt on the part of Cheng (one of the orthodox 
Chinese states that had been uncivil to the wanderer), to 
drag in the preponderant power of Ts'u by way of shielding 
itself from punishment at Tsin's hands for past rude behaviour. 
The Emperor sent his own son to confer the status of " my 
uncle " upon him, — which is practically another way of saying 

Ancient China Simplified 53 

"Protector" to a kinsman, — and in the year 632 accordingly 
a grand durbar was held, in which the Emperor himself took 
part. The Tsin ruler, who had summoned the durbar, and 
had even "commanded the presence" of the Emperor, was 
the guiding spirit of the meeting in every respect, except in 
the nominal and ritualistic aspect of it ; nevertheless, he 
was prudent and careful enough scrupulously to observe all 
external marks of deference, and to make it appear that he 
was merely acting as mouthpiece to the puppet Emperor ; he 
even went the length of dutifully offering to the Emperor 
some Ts'u prisoners, and the Emperor in turn "graciously 
ceded " to Tsin the imperial possessions north of the Yellow 
River. Thus Ts'in and Tsin each in turn clipped the wings 
of the Autocrat of All the Chinas, so styled. 

During these few unsettled years between the death of 
the first real Protector in 643 and the formal nomination by 
the Emperor of the second in 632, Ts'u and Sung had, as we 
have seen, both attempted to assert their rival claims. A tri- 
angular war had also been going on for some time between 
Ts'i and Ts ( u, the bone of contention being some territory of 
which Ts'i had stripped Lu ; and there was war also between 
Tsin and Ts'i, Tsin and Ts'in, and Tsin and Ts'u, which latter 
state always tried to secure the assistance of Ts'in when 
possible. From first to last, there never was, during the period 
covered by Confucius' history, any serious war between Tartar 
Ts'in and barbarian Ts'u ; rather were they natural allies 
against orthodox China, upon which intermediate territory 
they both learned to fix covetous eyes. 

The situation is too involved, in view of the uncouthness 
of strange names and the absence of definite frontiers — chang- 
ing as they did with the result of each few years' campaigning 
— to make it possible to give a full, or even approximately 
intelligible, explanation of each move. But the following main 
features are incontestable : — Ts'in, Tsin, Ts'i, and Ts'u were 

54 Ancient China Simplified 

growing, progressive, and aggressive states, all of them strongly 
tinged with foreign blood, which foreign blood was naturally- 
assimilated the more readily in proportion to the power, 
wealth, and culture of the assimilating orthodox nucleus. 
The imperial domain was an extinct political volcano, belching 
occasional fumes of threatening, sometimes noxious, but not 
ever fatally suffocating smoke, always without fire. " The 
Hia," that is, the federation of princes belonging to pure Hia, 
or (as we now say) " Chinese " stock, were evidently unwarlike 
in proportion to the absence of foreign blood in their veins ; 
but they were all of them equally ruses, and all of them past- 
masters in casuistic diplomacy. Trade, agriculture, literature, 
and even law, were now quite active, and (as we shall gradually 
see in these short chapters) China was undoubtedly beginning 
to move, as, after 2500 years of a second "ritual" sleep, she 
is again now moving, at the beginning of the twentieth 
century A.D. 



All through these five centuries of struggle, between the 
flight of the Emperor with the transfer of the metropolis in 
771 B.C., and the total destruction of the feudal system by the 
First August Emperor of Ts'in in 221 B.C., it is of supreme 
interest to note that religion in our Western sense was not 
only non-existent throughout China, but had not yet even 
been conceived of as an abstract notion ; apart, that is to say, 
from government, public law, family law, and class ritual. 
No word for " religion " was known to the language ; the 
notion of Church or Temple served by a priestly caste had not 
entered men's minds. Offences against " the gods " or " the 
spirits," in a vague sense, were often spoken of; but, on the 
other hand, too much belief in their power was regarded as 
superstition. " Sin " was only conceivable in the sense of 
infraction of nature's general laws, as symbolized and 
specialized by imperial commands ; direct, or delegated to 
vassal princes ; in both cases as representatives, supreme or 
local, of Heaven, or of the Emperor Above, whose Son the 
dynastic central ruler for the time being was figuratively 
supposed to be. No vassal prince ever presumed to style 
himself " Son of Heaven," though nearly all the barbarous 
vassals called themselves " King " (the only other title the Chou 
monarchs took) in their own dominions. " In the Heaven 
there can only be one Sun ; on Earth there can only be one 
Emperor " ; this was the maxim, and, ever since the Chou 
conquest in 1122 B.C., the word " King " had done duty for 


56 Ancient China Simplified 

the more ancient "Emperor," which, in remote times had 
apparently not been sharply distinguished in men's minds 
from God, or the " Emperor on High." 

Prayer was common enough, as we shall frequently see, 
and sacrifice was universal ; in fact, the blood of a victim was 
almost inseparable from solemn function or record of any 
kind. But such ideas as conscience, fear of God, mortal sin, 
repentance, absolution, alms-giving, self-mortification, charity, 
sackcloth and ashes, devout piety, praise and glorification, — in 
a word, what the Jews, Christians, Mussulmans, and even 
Buddhists have each in turn conceived to be religious duty, 
had no well-defined existence at all. There are some traces 
of local or barbarous gods in the semi-Turkish nation of Ts'in, 
before it was raised to the status of full feudal vassal ; and 
also in the semi-Annamese nation of Ts'u (with its de- 
pendencies Wu and Yiieh) ; but the orthodox Chinese proper 
of those times never had any religion such as we now con- 
ceive it, whatever notions their remote ancestors may have 

Notwithstanding this, the minds of the governing classes 
at least were powerfully restrained by family and ancestral 
feeling, and, if there were no temples or priests for public 
worship, there were invariably shrines dedicated to the 
ancestors, with appropriate rites duly carried out by pro- 
fessional clerks or reciters. Whenever a ruler of any kind 
undertook any important expedition or possible duty, he was 
careful first to consult the oracles in order to ascertain the 
will of Heaven, and then to report the fact to the manes 
of his forefathers, who were likewise notified of any great 
victory, political change, or piece of good fortune. There is 
a distinction (not easy to master) between the loss of a 
state and the loss of a dynasty ; in the latter case the 
population remain comparatively unaffected, and it is only 
the reigning family whose sacrifices to the gods of the place 

Ancient China Simplified 57 

and of the harvest are interrupted. Thus in 567, when one of 
the very small vassals (of whom the ruler of Lu was mesne 
lord) crushed the other, it is explained that the spirits will 
not spiritually eat the sacrifices {i.e. accept the worship) of 
one who does not belong to the same family name, and that 
in this case the annihilating state was only a cousin through 
sisters : " when the country is ' lost/ it means that the strange 
surname succeeds to power ; but when a strange surname 
becomes spiritual heir, we say ' annihilated.' " We have seen 
in the ninth chapter how the Shang dynasty lost the empire, 
but was sacrificially maintained in Sung. From the remotest 
times there seems to have been a tender unwillingness to " cut 
off all sacrifices " entirely, probably out of a feeling that retri- 
bution in like form might at some future date occur to the 
ruthless condemner of others. There is another reason, which 
is, nearly all ruling families hailed from the same remote semi- 
mythical emperors, or from their ministers, or from their wives 
of inferior birth. Thus, although the body of the last tyrannical 
monarch of the Shang dynasty just cited was pierced through 
and through by the triumphant Chou monarch, that monarch's 
brother (acting as regent on behalf of the son and successor) 
conferred the principality of Sung upon the tyrant's elder 
half-brother by an inferior wife, " in order that the dynastic 
sacrifices might not be cut off" ; and to the very last the Duke 
of Sung was the only ruling satrap under the Chou dynasty 
who permanently enjoyed the full title of " duke." His 
neighbour, the Marquess of Wei (imperial clan), was, it is true, 
made " duke " in 770 B.C. for services in connection with the 
Emperor's flight ; but the title seems to have been tacitly 
abandoned, and at durbars he is always styled " marquess." 
Of the Shang tyrant himself it is recorded : "thus in 11 22 B.C. 
he lost all in a single day, without even leaving posterity." 
Of course his elder brother could not possibly be his spiritual 
heir. In 597 B.C., when Ts'u, in its struggle with Tsin for the 

58 Ancient China Simplified 

possession of Cheng, got the ruling Earl of Cheng in its 
power, the latter referred appealingly to his imperial ancestors 
(the first earl, in 806, was son of the Emperor who fled 
from his capital north in 842), and said : " Let me continue 
their sacrifices." There are, at least, a score of similar 
instances : the ancestral sacrifices seem to refer rather to 
posterity, whilst those to gods of the land and grain appear 
more connected with rights as feoffee. 

Prayer is mentioned from the earliest times. For instance 
Shun, the active ploughman monarch (not hereditary) who 
preceded the three dynasties of Hia (2205-1767), Shang 
(1766-1123), and Chou (1122-249), prayed at a certain 
mountain in the centre of modern Hu Nan province, where 
his grave still is, (a fact which points to the possibility of the 
orthodox Chinese having worked their way northwards from 
the south-west). When the Chou conqueror, posthumously 
called the Martial King, fell ill, his brother, the Duke of 
Chou (later regent for the Martial King's son), prayed to 
Heaven for his brother's recovery, and offered himself as a 
substitute ; the clerk was instructed to commit the offer to 
writing, and this solemn document was securely locked up. 
The same man, when regent, again offered himself to Heaven 
for his sick nephew, cutting his nails off and throwing them 
into the river, as a symbol of his willingness to give up his 
own body. The Emperor K'ang-hi of the present Manchu 
dynasty, perhaps in imitation of the Duke of Chou, offered 
himself to Heaven in place of his sick Mongol grandmother. 
A very curious instance of prayer occurs in connection with 
the succession to the Tsin throne ; it will be remembered 
that the legitimate heir committed dutiful suicide, and two 
other half-brothers (and, for a few months, one of these 
brother's sons) reigned before the second Protector secured 
his ancestral rights. The suicide's ghost appears to his 
usurping brother, and says : " I have prayed to the Emperor 

Ancient China Simplified 59 

(God), who will soon deliver over Tsin into Ts'in's hands, 
so that Ts'in will perform the sacrifices due to me." The 
reply to the ghost was : " But the spirits will only eat the 
offerings if they come from the same family stock." The 
ghost said : " Very good ; then I will pray again. . . . God 
now says my half-brother will be overthrown at the battle 
of Han " (the pass where the philosopher Lao-tsz is supposed 
to have written his book 1 50 years later). In 645 the ruler 
of Tsin was in fact captured in battle by his brother-in-law 
of Ts'in, who was indeed about to sacrifice to the Emperor 
on High as successor of Tsin ; but he was dissuaded by his 
orthodox wife (the Tsin princess, daughter of a Ts'i princess 
as explained on page 51). 

In 575 Tsin is recorded as " invoking the spirits and 
requesting a victory." A little later one of the Tsin generals, 
after a defeat, issued a general order by way of concealing 
his weakness : to deceive the enemy he suggested that the 
army should amongst other things make a great show of 
praying for victory. There are many other similar analogous 
instances of undoubted prayer. Much later, in the year 
210 B.C., when the King (as he had been) of Ts'in had 
conquered all China and given himself the name, for the 
first time in history, of August Emperor (the present title), 
he consulted his soothsayers about an unpleasant dream he 
had had. He was advised to pray, and to worship (or to 
sacrifice, for the two are practically one) with special ardour 
if he wished to bring things round to a favourable conclusion : 
and this is a monarch, too, who was steeped in Lao-tsz's 



We have just seen that, when a military expedition started 
out, the event was notified, with sacrifice, to the ancestors 
of the person most concerned : it was also the practice to 
carry to battle, on a special chariot, the tablet of the last 
ancestor removed from the ancestral hall, in order that, 
under his aegis so to speak, the tactics of the battle might 
be successful. Ancestral halls varied according to rank, the 
Emperor alone having seven shrines ; vassal rulers five ; and 
first-class ministers three ; courtiers or second-class ministers 
had only two ; that is to say, no one beyond the living 
subject's grandfather was in these last cases worshipped at 
all. From this we may assume that the ordinary folk could 
not pretend to any shrine, unless perhaps the house-altar, 
which one may see still any day in the streets of Canton. 
In 645 B.C. a first-class minister's temple was struck by 
lightning, and the commentator observes : " Thus we see that 
all, from the Emperor down to the courtiers, had ancestral 
shrines ", — a statement which proves that already at the begin- 
ning of our Christian era such matters had to be explained 
to the general public. The shrines were disposed in the 
following fashion : — £To the left (on entrance) was the shrine 
of the living subject's father ; to the right his grandfather ; 
above these two, to the left and right again, the great- 
grandfather and great-great-grandfather ; opposite, in the 
centre, was that of the founder, whose tablet or effigy was 


Ancient China Simplified 61 

never moved ; but as each living individual died, his successor 
of course regarded him in the light of father, and, five being 
the maximum allowed, one tablet had to be removed at 
each decease, and it was placed in the more general ancestral 
hall belonging to the clan or gens rather than to the specific 
family: it was therefore the tablet or effigy of the great- 
great-grandfather that was usually carried about in war. 
The Emperor alone had two special chapels beyond the five 
shrines, each chapel containing the odds (left) and evens 
(right) of those higher up in ascent than the great and great- 
great-grandfathers respectively. The King of Ts'u who died 
in 560 B.C. said on his death-bed : " I now take my place 
in the ancestral temple to receive sacrifices in the spring 
and autumn of each year." In the year 597, after a great 
victory over Tsin, the King of Ts'u had been advised to 
build a trophy over the collected corpses of the enemy ; but, 
being apparently rather a high-minded man, after a little 
reflection, he said : " No ! I will simply erect there a temple 
to my ancestors, thanking them for the success." After the 
death in 210 B.C. of the First August Emperor, a discussion 
arose as to what honours should be paid to his temple shrine : 
it was explained that " for a thousand years without any 
change the rule has been seven shrines for the Son of Heaven, 
five for vassal princes, and three for ministers." In the year 
253, after the conquest of the miserable Chou Emperor's 
limited territory, the same Ts'in conqueror " personally laid the 
matter before the Emperor Above in the suburb sacrifice " ; 
—which means that he took over charge of the world as 
Vicar of God. The Temple of Heaven (outside the Peking 
South Gate), occupied in 1900 by the British troops, is 
practically the " suburb sacrifice " place of ancient times. It 
was not until the year 221 B.C. that the King of Ts'in, after 
that date First August Emperor, formally annexed the whole 
empire: "thanks to the shrines in the ancestral temple," or 

62 Ancient China Simplified 

" thanks to the spiritual help of my ancestors' shrines the 
Under- Heaven {i.e. Empire) is now first settled." These 
expressions have been perpetuated dynasty by dynasty, and 
were indeed again used but yesterday in the various announce- 
ments of victory made to Heaven and his ancestors by the 
Japanese Tenshi, or Mikado ; that is by the " Son of Heaven," 
or T'ien-tsz of the ancient Chinese, from whom the Japanese 
Shinto ritual was borrowed in whole or in part. 

In the year 572 B.C., on the accession of a Tsin ruler after 
various irregular interruptions in the lineal succession, he 
says : "Thanks to the supernatural assistance of my ancestors 
— and to your assistance, my lords — I can now carry out the 
Tsin sacrifices." In the year 548 the wretched ruler of Ts'i, 
victim of a palace intrigue, begged the eunuch who was 
charged with the task of assassinating him at least " to grant 
me permission to commit suicide in my ancestral hall." The 
wooden tablet representing the ancestor is defined as being 
" that on which the spirit reclines " ; and the temple " that 
place where the ancestral spiritual consciousness doth dwell." 
Each tablet was placed on its own altar : the tablet was square, 
with a hole in the centre, " in order to leave free access on all 
four sides." The Emperor's was twelve inches, those of vassal 
princes one foot {i.e. ten inches) in length, and no doubt the 
inscription was daubed on in varnish (before writing on silk 
became general, and before the hair-brush and ink came into 
use about 200 B.C.). The rulers of Lu, being lineal descend- 
ants of the Duke of Chou, brother of the first Emperor of the 
Chou dynasty (1122 B.C.) had special privileges in sacrificial 
matters, such as the right to use the imperial music of all 
past dynasties ; the right to sacrifice to the father of the 
Duke of Chou and the founder; the right to imperial rites, 
to suburban sacrifice, and so on ; besides the custody of 
certain ancient symbolic objects presented by the first 
Chou Emperors, and mentioned on page 22. 

Ancient China Simplified 63 

Of course no punishment could be spiritually greater than 
the destruction of ancestral temples : thus on two occasions, 
notably in 575 B.C. when a first-class minister traitorously fled 
his country, his prince, the Marquess of Lu, as a special act 
of grace, simply " swept his ancestral temple, but did not cut 
off the sacrifices." The second instance was also in Lu, in 
550: the Wei friend with whom Confucius lived seventy years 
later, when wandering in Wei, retrospectively gave his ritual 
opinion on the case — a proof of the solidarity in sympathy 
that existed between the statesmen of the orthodox princi- 
palities. In the bloodthirsty wars between the semi-barbarous 
southern states of Wu and Ts'u, the capital of the latter was 
taken by storm in the year 506, the ancestral temple of Ts'u 
was totally destroyed, and the renegade Ts'u ministers who 
accompanied the Wu armies even flogged the corpse of the 
previous Ts'u king, their former master, against whom they 
had a grievance. This mutilation of the dead (in cases 
where the guilty rulers have contravened the laws of nature 
and heaven) was practised even in imperial China ; for (see 
page 57) the founder of the dynasty, on taking possession of 
the last Shang Emperor's palace, deliberately fired several 
arrows into the body of the suicide Emperor. Decapi- 
tating corpses and desecrating tombs of great criminals 
have frequently been practised by the existing Manchu 
government, in criticizing whom we must not forget the 
treatment of Cromwell's body at the Restoration. In the 
year 285 B.C., when the Ts'i capital was taken possession 
of by the allied royal powers then united against Ts'i, the 
ancestral temple was burnt. In 249 B.C. Ts'u extinguished 
the state of Lu, " which thus witnessed the interruption of 
its ancestral sacrifices." 

Frequent instances occur, throughout this troublous period, 
of the Emperor's sending presents of meat used in ancestral 
sacrifices to the vassal princes ; this was intended as a 

64 Ancient China Simplified 

special mark of honour, something akin to the " orders " or 
decorations distributed in Europe. Thus in 671 the new 
King of Ts'u who had just murdered his predecessor, which pre- 
decessor had for the first time set the bad example of annexing 
petty orthodox Chinese principalities, received this compliment 
of sacrificial meat from the Emperor, together with a mild hint 
to " attack the barbarians such as Yiieh, but always to let the 
Chinese princes alone." Ts'i, Lu, Ts'in, and Yiieh on 
different occasions between that date and the fourth century 
B.C. received similar donations, usually, evidently, more 
propitiatory than patronizing. In 472 the barbarous King of 
Yiieh was even nominated Protector along with his present of 
meat ; this was after his total destruction of Wu, when he was 
marching north to threaten North China. Presents of private 
family sacrificial meat are still in vogue between friends in 

Fasting and purification were necessary before under- 
taking solemn sacrifice of any kind. Thus the King of Ts'u 
in 690 B.C. did this before announcing a proposed war to his 
ancestors ; and an envoy starting from Ts'u to Lu in 618 
reported the circumstance to his own particular ancestors, 
who may or may not have been (as many high ofTicers were) 
of the reigning caste. On another occasion the ruler 
of Lu was assassinated whilst purifying himself in the 
enclosure dedicated to the god of the soil, previous to sacri- 
ficing to the manes of an individual who had once saved his 
life. Practically all this is maintained in modern Chinese 

A curious distinction is mentioned in connection with 
official mourning tidings in the highly ritual state of Lu. If 
the deceased were of a totally different family name, the 
Marquess of Lu wept outside his capital, turning towards 
deceased's native place, or place of death ; if of the same 
name, then in the ancestral temple : if the deceased was a 

1. Ts'u's five capitals, in order of datpe Wu attacks. 
In 278 B.C. Ts'in captured No. 4, and t£ maps showing 
Ch'en's position). Ts'u was now a Hwjern Sz Ch'wan, 
both inaccessible from the Han system. ^ by a common 

2. Wu seems to have been the only povr vassal to Ts'u. 

3. Pa had relations with Ts'u so early 

1. Ts'u's five capitals, in order of date, are marked. In 504 is.C. the king had to leave the Yang-tsz for good in order to escape Wu attacks. 
In 278 B.C. Ts'in captured No. 4, and then the ancient Ch'en capital (No. 5, already annexed by Ts'u) became the Ts'u capital (see maps showing 
Ch'en's position). Ts'u was now a Hwai River power instead of being a Han River and Yang-tsz power. Shuh and Pa are modern Sz Ch'wan, 
both inaccessible from the Han system. The Han system to its north was separated from the Wei system and the country of Ts'in by a common 

2. Wu seems to have been the only power besides Ts'u possessing any knowledge of the Yang-tsz River, and Wu was originally part of, or vassal to Ts'u. 

3. l'a had relations with Ts'u so early as 600 ls.C. Later Pa princesses married Ts'u kings. 

Ancient China Simplified 65 

descendant of the same founder, then in the founder's temple ; 
if of the same family branch, then in the paternal temple. 
All these refinements are naturally tedious and obscure to us 
Westerners ; but it is only by collating specific facts that we 
can arrive at any general principle or rule. 




The reign of the Tsin marquess (628-635), second of the 
Five Protectors, only lasted eight years, and nothing is re- 
corded to have happened during this period at all commen- 
surate with his picturesque figure in history while yet a mere 
wanderer. But it is very interesting to note that the Bamboo 
Annals or Books, Le. the History of Tsin from 784 B.C., and 
incidentally also of China from 1500 years before that date, 
are one of the corroborative authorities we now possess 
upon the accuracy of Confucius' history from 722 B.C., as 
expanded by his three commentators ; and it is satisfactory to 
know that the oldest of the three commentaries, that usually 
called the Tso Chwan> or " Commentary of Tso K'iu-ming," a 
junior contemporary of Confucius, and official historiographer 
at the Lu Court, is the most accurate as well as the most 
interesting of the three. These Bamboo Books were only 
discovered in the year 281 A.D., after having been buried in 
a tomb ever since the year 299 B.C. The character in which 
they were written, upon slips of bamboo, had already become 
so obsolete that the sustained work of antiquarians was 
absolutely necessary in order to reduce it to the current 
script of the day ; or, in other words, of to-day. Another 
interesting fact is, that whilst the Chou dynasty, and conse- 
quently Confucius of Lu (which state was intimately con- 
nected by blood with the Chou family), had introduced a 
new calendar, making the year begin one(Shang) or two(Hia) 
months sooner than before, Tsin had continued to compute (see 


Ancient China Simplified 67 

page 27) the year according to the system of the Hia dynasty : 
in other words, the intercalary moons, or massed fractions of 
time periodically introduced in order to bring the solar and 
lunar years into line, had during the millennium so accumu- 
lated (at the rate apparently of, roughly, sixty days in 
360,000, or, say, three half-seconds a day) that the Chou 
dynasty found it necessary to call the Hia eleventh moon the 
first and the Hia first moon the third of the year. A parallel 
distinction is observable in modern times when the Russian 
year (until a few years ago twelve days later than ours), 
was declared thirteen days later ; and when we ourselves in 
1900 (and in three-fourths of all future years making up a 
net hundred), omit the intercalary day of the 29th February, 
which otherwise occurs every fourth year of even numbers 
divisible by four. Thus the very discrepancies in the dates 
of the Bamboo Books (where the later editors, in attempting 
to accommodate all dates to later calendars, have accidentally 
left a Tsin date unchanged) and in the dates of Confucius' 
expanded history, pointed out and explained as they are by 
the Chinese commentators themselves, are at once a guarantee 
of fact, and of good faith in recording that fact. 

But the neighbour and brother-in-law of the Tsin marquess 
(himself three parts Turkish), the Earl of Ts'in, who reigned 
from 659 to 621 B.C., and during that reign quietly laid the 
foundations of a powerful state which was destined to achieve 
the future conquest of all China, was himself a remarkable 
man ; and there is some reason to believe that he, even at this 
period, also possessed a special calendar of his own, as his 
successors certainly did 400 years later, when they imposed 
their own calendar reckoning upon China. We have already 
seen (page 52) what powerful influence he exercised in bringing 
the semi-Tartar Tsin brethren to the Tsin throne in turn. He 
had invited several distinguished men from the neighbouring 
petty, but very ancient, Chinese principalities to settle in his 

68 Ancient China Simplified 

capital as advisers ; he was too far off to attend the durbars 
held by the First Protector, but he sent one of these Chinese 
advisers as his representative. He is usually himself counted 
as one of the Five Protectors ; but, although he was certainly 
very influential, and for that reason was certainly one of the 
Five Tyrants, or Five Predominating Powers, it is certain that 
he never succeeded in obtaining the Emperor's formal sanction 
to act as such over the orthodox principalities, nor did he ever 
preside at a durbar of Chinese federal princes. Long and 
bloody wars with his neighbour of Tsin were the chief 
feature of his reign so far as orthodox China was concerned ; 
but his chief glory lies in his great Tartar conquests, and in 
his enormous extensions to the west. These extensions, 
however, must not be exaggerated, and there is no reason to 
suppose that they ever reached farther than Kwa Chou and 
Tun-hwang (long. 95 , lat. 40 ), two very ancient places which 
still appear under those names on the most modern maps of 
China, and from which roads (recently examined by Major 
Bruce) branch off to Turkestan and Lob Nor respectively. 

Most Emperors and vassal princes are spoken of in history 
by their posthumous names, that is by the names voted to 
them after death, with the view of tersely expressing by that 
name the essential features (good or bad) of the deceased's 
personal character ; just as we say in Europe, officially or 
unofficially, Louis le Bienaim6, Albert the Good, or Charles 
the Fat. The posthumous name of this Ts'in earl was " the 
Duke Muh " (no matter whether duke, marquess, earl, viscount, 
or baron when living, it was customary to say " duke " when 
the ruler was dead), and the posthumous name of the Emperor 
who died in 947 B.C. was " the King Muh " ; for, as already 
stated, the Chou dynasty of Sons of Heaven were called 
" King," and not " Emperor," though their supreme position 
was as fully imperial as that of previous dynastic monarchs, 
and they were, in fact, " Emperors," as we now understand that 

Ancient China Simplified 69 

word in Europe. At the same time that the Bamboo Annals 
were unearthed, there were also found copies of some of the 
old " classics " or " Scripture," and a hitherto unknown book 
called " the Story of the Son of Heaven Muh," all, of course, 
written in the same ancient script. This Son of Heaven (a 
term applied to all the Emperors of China, no matter whether 
they styled themselves Emperor, King, or August Emperor) 
was supposed to have travelled far west, and to have had 
interviews with a foreign prince, who, as his land too, was 
transcribed as Sizvangmu. The subject will be touched upon 
more in detail in another chapter ; but, for the present, it will 
be useful to say that, in the opinion of one very learned 
sinologist, all evidence points clearly to this expedition having 
been undertaken by Duke Muh of Ts'in, installed as he was in 
the old appanage of the emperors lost to the Tartars (as we 
have explained) in 771, and made over at the same time by the 
Emperor involved to the ancestors of Duke Muh. This view 
of the case is supported by the fact that in 664 B.C. Ts'in and 
Tsin, for some unknown reason, forced the Tartars of Kwa 
Chou to migrate into China, which migration was subsequently 
alluded to by a Tartar chief (when attending a Chinese durbar 
in 559 B.C.) as a well-known historical fact. It was undoubtedly 
the practice of semi-Chinese states, such as Ts'u, Wu, Yuen, 
and Shuh (the last is the modern Sz Ch'wan province, and its 
history was only discovered long after Confucius' time), to call 
themselves " Kings," " Emperors," and " Sons of Heaven," in 
their own country (just as the tributary King of Annam always 
did until the French assumed a protectorate over him ; and just 
as the tributary Japanese did before they officially announced 
the fact to China in the seventh century A.D.) ; and there are 
many indications that Ts'in did, or at least might have done 
and would like to have done, the same thing. Hence, when the 
story of Muh was discovered, the literary manipulators — even 
if they did not really believe that it positively must refer to 

70 Ancient China Simplified 

the Emperor Muh — might well have honestly doubted whether 
the story referred to Ts'in or to the Emperor ; or might well 
have decided to incorporate it with orthodox history, as a 
strengthening factor in support of the theory of one single and 
indivisible imperial dignity; just as, again, in the seventh century 
and eighth century A.D., the Japanese manipulators of their tra- 
ditional history incorporated hundreds, not to say thousands 
of Chinese historical facts and speeches, and worked them into 
their own historical episodes and into their own emperors' 
mouths, for the honour and glory of Dai Nippon (Great Japan). 
After the death of the Second Protector in 628 B.C., there 
was a continuous struggle between Tsin and Ts'in on the one 
hand, and between Tsin and Ts'u on the other. Meanwhile 
Ts'i had all its own work cut out in order to keep the Tartars 
off the right bank of the Yellow River in its lower course, and 
in order to protect the orthodox Chinese states, Lu, Sung, 
Wei, etc., from their attacks ; but Ts'i never again after this 
date put in a formal claim to be Protector, although in 610 
she led a coalition of princes against an offending member, 
and thus practically acted as Protector. 

In addition to the Chinese adviser at the disposal of Ts'in, 
in the year 626 the King (or a king) of the Tartars supplied 
Duke Muh with a very able Tartar adviser of Tsin descent ; 
i.e. his ancestors had in past times migrated to Tartarland, 
though he himself still "spoke the Tsin dialect," and must 
have had considerable literary capacity, as he was an author. 
Ts'in was now, in addition to being, if only informally, a 
federal Chinese state, also supreme suzerain over all the Tartar 
principalities within reach ; well supplied, moreover, with 
expert advisers for both classes of work. All this is important 
in view of the pre-eminency of Ts'in when the time came, 400 
years later, to abolish the meticulous feudal system altogether. 



The Five Tyrants, or Protectors, are usually considered to be 
the five personages we have mentioned ; to wit, in order of 
succession, the Marquess of Ts'i (679-643), under whose reign 
the great economist, statesman, and philosopher Kwan-tsz 
raised this far eastern part of China to a hitherto unheard-of 
pitch of material prosperity ; the Marquess of Tsin (632-628), 
a romantic prince, more Turkish than Chinese, who was the 
first vassal prince openly to treat the Emperor as a puppet ; 
the Duke of Sung (died 637), representing the imperial Shang 
dynasty ejected by the Chou family in 1122, whose ridiculous 
chivalry failed, however, to secure him the effective support of 
the other Chinese princes; the Earl of Ts'in (died 621) who 
was, as we see, quietly creating a great Tartar dominion, and 
assimilating it to Chinese ways in the west ; and the King of 
Ts'u (died 591), who, besides taking his place amongst the 
recognized federal princes, and annexing innumerable petty 
Chinese principalities in the Han River and Hwai River 
basins, had been for several generations quietly extending his 
dominions at the expense of what we now call the provinces 
of Sz Ch'wan, Kiang Si, Hu Kwang — perhaps even Yun Nan 
and Kwei Chou ; certainly Kiang Su and Cheh Kiang, and 
possibly in a loose way the coast regions of modern Fuh Kien 
and the Two Kwang ; but it cannot be too often repeated that 
if any thing intimate was known of the Yang-tsz basin, it was 
only Ts'u (in its double character of independent local empire 
as well as Chinese federal prince) that knew, or could have 


72 Ancient China Simplified 

known, any thing about it ; just as, if any thing specific was 
known of the Far West, Turkestan, the Tarim valley, and the 
Desert, it was only Ts'in (in its double character of indepen- 
dent Tartar empire as well as Chinese federal prince) that 
knew, or could know, any thing about them. Ts'i and Tsin 
were also Tartar powers, at least in the sense that they knew 
how to keep off the particular Tartars known to them, and 
how to make friendly alliances with them, thus availing them- 
selves, on the one hand, of Tartar virility, and faithful on the 
other to orthodox Chinese culture. So that, with the excep- 
tion of the pedantic Duke of Sung, who was summarily snuffed 
out after a year or two of brief light by the lusty King of Ts'u, 
all the nominal Five Protectors of China were either half- 
barbarian rulers or had passed through the crucible of barbarian 
ordeals. Finally, so vague were the claims and services of 
Sung, Ts'u, and Tsin, from a protector point of view, that for 
the purposes of this work, we only really recognize two, the 
First Protector (of Ts'i) and, after a struggle, the Second 
Protector (of Tsin) : at most a third, — Ts'u. 

But although the Chinese historians thus loosely confine 
the Five-Protector period to less than a century of time, it is 
a fact that Ts'u and Tsin went on obstinately struggling for 
the hegemony, or for practical predominance, for at least 
another 200 years ; besides, Ts'in, Ts'u, and Sung were never 
formally nominated by the Emperor as Protectors, nor were 
they ever accepted as such by the Chinese federal princes in 
the permanent and definite way that Ts'i and Tsin had been 
and were accepted. Moreover, the barbarian states of Wu and 
Yiieh each in turn acted very effectively as Protector, and are 
never included in the Five-Great-Power series. The fact 
is, the Chinese have never grasped the idea of principles 
in history : their annals are mere diaries of events ; and 
when once an apparently definite "period" is named by 
an annalist, they go on using it, quite regardless of its 

Ancient China Simplified 73 

inconsistency when confronted with facts adverse to a logical 
acceptance of it. 

The situation was this : Tsin and Ts'u were at perpetual 
loggerheads about the small Chinese states that lay between 
them, more especially about the state of Cheng, which, though 
small, was of quite recent imperial stock, and was, moreover, 
well supplied with brains. Tsin and Ts'in were at perpetual 
loggerheads about the old Tsin possessions on the west bank 
of the Yellow River, which, running from the north to the 
south, lay between them ; and about their rival claims to 
influence the various nomadic Tartar tribes living along both 
the banks. Tsin and Ts'i were often engaged in disputes 
about Lu, Wei, and other orthodox states situated in the 
Lower Yellow River valley running from the west to the east 
and north-east ; also in questions concerning eastern barbarian 
states inhabiting the whole coast region, and concerning the 
petty Chinese states which had degenerated, and whose 
manners savoured of barbarian ways. Thus Ts'in and Ts'u, 
and also to some extent Ts'i and Ts'u, had a regular tendency 
to ally themselves against Tsin's flanks, and it was therefore 
always Tsin's policy as the " middle man " to obstruct com- 
munications between Ts'in and Ts'u, and between Ts'i and 
Ts'u. In 580 Tsin devised a means of playing off a similar 
flanking game upon Ts'u : negotiations were opened with 
Wu, which completely barbarous state only begins to appear 
in history at all at about this period, all the kings having 
manifestly phonetic barbarian names, which mean absolutely 
nothing (beyond conveying the sound) as expressed in Chinese. 
Wu was taught the art of war, as we have seen, by (page 34) a 
Ts'u traitor who had fled to Tsin and taken service there ; and 
the King of Wu soon made things so uncomfortable for Ts'u 
that the latter in turn tried by every means to block the way 
between Tsin and Wu. Within a single generation Wu was 
so civilized that one of the royal princes was sent the rounds 

74 Ancient China Simplified 

of the Chinese states as special ambassador, charged, under the 
convenient cloak of seeking for civilization, ritual, and music, 
with the duty of acquiring political and strategical knowledge. 
This prince so favourably impressed the orthodox statesmen 
of Ts'i, Lu, Tsin, and Wei (the ruling family of this state, like 
that of Sung, was, until it revolted in 1106 B.C. against the 
new Chou dynasty, of Shang dynasty origin, and the Yellow 
River ran through it northwards), that he was everywhere 
deferentially received as an equal : his tomb is still in existence, 
about ten miles from the treaty-port of Chinkiang, and the 
inscription upon it, in ancient characters, was written by 
Confucius himself, who, though a boy of eight when the Wu 
prince visited Lu in 544, may well have seen the prince in the 
flesh elsewhere, for the latter lived to prevent a war with Ts'u 
in 485 ; i.e. he lived to within six years of Confucius' death : 
he is known, too, to have visited Tsin on a spying mission in 
515 B.C. The original descent of the first voluntarily barbarous 
Wu princes from the same grandfather as the Chou emperors 
would afford ample basis for the full recognition of a Wu 
prince by the orthodox as their equal, especially when his 
manners were softened by rites and music. It was like an 
oriental prince being f£ted and invested in Europe, so long as 
he should conform to the conventional dress and mannerisms 
of " society." 

Just as Wu had been quietly submissive to Ts'u until the 
opportunity came to revolt, so did the still more barbarous 
state of Yiieh, lying to the south-east of and tributary to Wu 
as her mesne lord, eagerly seize the opportunity of attacking 
Wu when the common suzerain, Ts'u, required it. The wars 
of Wu and Yiieh are almost entirely naval, and, so far as the 
last-named state is concerned, it is never reported as having 
used war-chariots at all. Wu adopted the Chinese chariot as 
rapidly as it had re-adopted the Chinese civilization, abandoned 
by the first colonist princes in 1200 B.C. ; but of course these 

Ancient China Simplified 75 

chariots were only for war in China, on the flat Chinese plains ; 
they were totally impracticable in mountainous countries, 
except along the main routes, and useless (as Major Bruce shows) 
in regions cut up by gulleys ; even now no one ever sees a 
two- wheeled vehicle in the Shanghai-Ningpo region. It must, 
therefore, always be remembered that Wu, though barbarous 
in its population, was, in its origin as an organized system of 
rule, a colony created by certain ancestors of the founder of the 
Chou dynasty, who had voluntarily gone off to carve out an 
appanage in the Jungle ; i.e. in the vague unknown dominion 
later called Ts'u, of which dominion all coast regions were a 
part, so far as they could be reduced to submission. This 
gave the Kings of Wu, though barbarian, a pretext for claiming 
equality with, and even seniority over Tsin, the first Chou-born 
prince of which was junior in descent to most of the other 
enfeoffed vassals of the imperial clan-name. In 502 Wu armies 
even threatened the northern state of Ts'i, and asserted in 
China generally a brief authority akin to that of Protector. 
Ts'i was obliged to buy itself off by marrying a princess of the 
blood to the heir-apparent of Wu, an act which two centuries 
later excited the disgust of the philosopher Mencius. The 
great Ts'i statesman and writer Yen-tsz, whom we have already 
mentioned more than once, died in 500, and earlier in that year 
Confucius had become chief counsellor of Lu, which state, on 
account of Confucius' skill as a diplomat, nearly obtained 
the Protectorate. It was owing to the fear of this that the 
assassination of the Lu prince was attempted that year, as 
narrated in Chapter IX. In order to understand how Wu 
succeeded in reaching Lu and Ts'i, it must be recollected that 
the river Sz, which still runs from east to west past Confucius's 
birthplace, and now simply feeds the Grand Canal, then flowed 
south-east along the line of the present canal and entered the 
Hwai River near Su-chou. Moreover, there was at times boat- 
communication between the Sz and the Yellow River, though 

76 Ancient China Simplified 

the precise channel is not now known. Consequently, the Wu 
fleets had no difficulty in sailing northwards first by sea and 
then up the Hwai and Sz Rivers. Besides, in 485, the King 
of Wu began what we now call the Grand Canal by joining as 
a beginning the Yang-tsz River with the Hwai River, and then 
carrying the canal beyond the Hwai to the state of Sung, 
which state was then disputing with Lu the possession of 
territory on the east bank of the Sz, whilst Ts'u was pushing 
her annexations up to the west bank of the same river. There 
were in all twelve minor orthodox states between the Sz and 
the Hwai. In 482 the all-powerful King of Wu held a genuine 
durbar as Protector, at a place in modern Ho Nan province, 
north of the Yellow River as it now runs, but at that time a 
good distance to the south-east of it. This is one of the most 
celebrated meetings in Chinese history, partly because Wu 
successfully asserted political pre-eminence over Tsin ; partly 
because Confucius falsifies the true facts out of shame (as we 
have seen he did when Ts'u similarly seized the first place 
over Tsin) ; and partly owing to the shrewd diplomacy of the 
King of Wu, who had learnt by express messenger that the 
King of Yiieh was marching on his capital, and who had the 
difficult double task to accomplish of carrying out a " bluff," 
and operating a retreat without showing his weak hand to 
either side, or losing his army exposed between two foes. 

In 473, after long and desperate fighting, Wu was, however, 
at last annihilated by Yiieh, which state was now unanimously 
voted Protector. Vce victis ! The Yiieh capital was promptly 
removed from near the modern Shao-hing (west of Ningpo) far 
away north to what is now practically the German colony of 
Kiao Chou; but, though a maritime power of very great 
strength, Yiieh never succeeded in establishing any real land 
influence in the Hwai Valley. During her short protectorate 
she rectified the River Sz question by forcing Sung to make 
over to Lu the land on the east bank of the River Sz. 



Whatever may be the reason why details of interstate 
movement are lacking up to 842 B.C., it is certain that, from 
the date of the Emperor's flight eastwards in 771, the utmost 
activity prevailed between state and state within the narrow 
area to which, as we have seen, the federated Chinese empire was 
confined. Confucius' history, covering the 250-year period 
subsequent to 722, consists largely of statements that this duke 
visited that country, or returned from it, or drew up a treaty 
with it, or negotiated a marriage with it. " Society," in a 
political sense, consisted of the four great powers, Ts'in, Tsin, 
Ts'i, and Ts'u, surrounding the purely Chinese enclave ; and 
of the innumerable petty Chinese states, mostly of noble and 
ancient lineage, only half a dozen of them of any size, which 
formed the enclave in question, and were surrounded by Ts'in, 
Tsin, Ts'i, and Ts'u, to the west, north, east, and south. 
Secondary states in extent and in military power, like Lu, 
Ch£ng, and Wei, whilst having orthodox and in some cases 
barbarian sub-vassals of their own, were themselves, if not 
vassals to, at all events under the predominant influence of, 
one or the other of the four great powers. Thus Lu was at 
first nearly always a handmaid of Ts'i, but later fell under the 
influence of Tsin, Ts'u, and Wu ; Cheng always coquetted 
between Tsin and Ts'u, not out of love for either, but in 
order to protect her own independence ; and so on with the 
rest. If we inquire what a really small state meant in those 
days, the answer is that the modern walled city, with its 



78 Ancient China Simplified 

district of several hundred square miles lying around it, was 
(and usually still is) the equivalent of the ancient principality ; 
and proof of that lies in the fact that one of the literary 
designations of what we now term a " district magistrate " is 
JL g 4*- still " city marquess." Another proof is that in ancient times 
" your state " was a recognized way of saying " your capital 
town " ; and " my poor town " was the polite way of saying 
" our country " ; both expressions still used in elegant diplo- 
matic composition. 

This being so, and it having besides been the practice for 
a visiting duke always to take along with him a " minister in 
attendance," small wonder that prominent Chinese statesmen 
from the orthodox states were all personal friends, or at least 
correspondents and acquaintances, who had thus frequent 
opportunity of comparing political notes. To this day there 
are no serious dialect differences whatever in the ancient 
central area described in the first chapter, nor is there any 
reason to suppose that the statesmen and scholars who thus 
often met in conclave had any difficulty in making themselves 
mutually understood. The " dialects," of which we hear so 
much in modern times (which, none the less, are all of them 
pure Chinese, except that the syllables differ, just as cceur, cuore, 
and corazon, coracao, differ from cor), all belong to the southern 
coasts, which were practically unknown to imperial China 
in Confucius' time. The Chinese word which we translate 
" mandarin " also means " public " or u common," and " man- 
darin dialect " really means " current " or " common speech," 
such as is, and was, spoken with no very serious modifications 
all over the enclave ; and also in those parts of Ts'in, Tsin, Ts'i, 
and Ts'u, which immediately impinged upon the enclave, in the 
ratio of their proximity. Finally, Shen Si, Shan Si, Shan 
Tung, and Hu Kwang are still called Ts'in, Tsin, Ts'i, and 
Ts'u in high-class official correspondence ; and so with all other 
place-names. China has never lost touch with antiquity. 

Ancient China Simplified 79 

There is record for nearly every thing : the only difficulty is 
to separate what is relevant from what is irrelevant in the 
mass of confused data. 

Another matter must be considered. Although the Chinese 
never had a caste system in the Hindoo sense, there is, as 
we have stated once before, every reason to believe that the 
ruling classes and the educated classes were nearly all nobles, 
in the sense that they were all lineal or branch descendants, 
whether by first-class wife or by concubine, of either the ruling 
dynastic family or of some previous imperial dynastic family. 
Some families were by custom destined for hereditary 
ministers, others for hereditary envoys, others again for 
hereditary soldiers ; not, it is true, by strict rule, but because 
the ancient social idea favoured the descent of office, or land, 
or trade, or craft from father to son. This, indeed, was part of 
the celebrated Kwan-tsz's economic philosophy. Thus gene- 
ration after generation of statesmen and scholars kept in steady 
touch with one another, exactly as our modern scientists of the 
first rank, each as a link, form an unbroken intimate chain 
from Newton down to Lord Kelvin, outside which pale the 
ordinary layman stands a comparative stranger to the arcana 

Kwan-tsz, the statesman-philosopher of Ts'i, and in a 
sense the founder of Chinese economic science, was himself a 
scion of the imperial Chou clan ; every writer on political 
economy subsequent to 643 B.C. quotes his writings, precisely 
as every European philosophical writer cites Bacon. Quite a 
galaxy of brilliant statesmen and writers, a century after 
Kwan-tsz, shed lustre upon the Confucian age (550-480), and 
nearly all of them were personal friends either of Confucius or 
of each other, or of both. Thus Tsz-ch'an of Cheng, senior to 
Confucius, but beloved and admired by him, was son of a reign- £\ JjL -j^ 
ing duke, and "a prince of the ducal Cheng family, which again 
was descended from a son of the Emperor who fled in 842 B.C. 

80 Ancient China Simplified 

If Tsz-ch'an had written works on philosophy and politics, it 
is possible that he might have been China's greatest man in 
the place of Confucius ; for he based his ideas of government, 
as did Confucius, who probably copied much from him, entirely 
upon " fitting conduct," or " natural propriety " ; in addition to 
which he was a great lawyer, entirely free from superstition 
and hypocrisy ; a kind, just, and considerate ruler ; a con- 
summate diplomat ; and a bold, original statesman, economist, 
and administrator. The anecdotes and sayings of Tsz-ch'an 
are as numerous and as practical as those about Julius Caesar 
or Marcus Aurelius. 

Another great pillar of the state praised by Confucius was 
7)7? f*l Shuh Hiang of Tsin, whose reputation as a sort of Chinese 
Cicero is not far below that of Tsz-ch'an. He belonged to one 
of the great private families of Tsin, of whom it was said in 
Ts'u that M any of them could bring ioo war-chariots into the 
field." Nothing could be more interesting than the interviews 
and letters (see Appendix No. i) between these two friends 
and their colleagues of Ts'i, Ts'u, Lu, and Sung. 
,lgl, i Yen-tsz of Ts'i almost ranks with Kwan-tsz as an ad- 

ministrator, philosopher, economist, author, and statesman. 
Confucius has a good word for him too, though Yen-tsz's own 
opinion of Confucius' merits was by no means so high. The 
two men had to " spar " with each other behind their respective 
rulers like Bismarck and Gortschakoff did. Yen-tsz's interview 
with Shuh Hiang, when the pair discussed the vices of their 
respective dukes, is almost as amusing as a " patter " scene in 
the pantomime, a sort of by-play which takes place whilst the 
curtain is down in preparation for the next formal act (see 
Appendix No. 2). 

Confucius himself had descended in the direct line from 
the ducal family of Sung ; but Sung, like the other states, 
was cursed with the " great family " nuisance, and one of his 
ancestors, having incurred a grandee's hostility, had met with 

K'ung Ling-i, the hereditary Ycn-sheng Kung, or " Propagating 
Holiness Duke"; 76th in descent from K'ung K'iu, alias K'ung 
Chung-ni, the original philosopher, 551-479 B.C. 

This portrait was presented to " the priest P'eng " (Father 
Tschepe, S.J.), on the occasion of his visit last autumn (7th moon, 
33rd year). 

Ancient China Simplified 81 

his death in a palace intrigue, in consequence of which the 
Confucian family, despairing of justice, had migrated to Lu. 
When we read of Confucius' extensive wanderings (which are 
treated of more at length in a subsequent chapter), the matter 
takes a very different complexion from what is usually 
supposed, especially if it be recollected what a limited area 
was really covered. He never got even so far as Tsin, 
though part of Tsin touched the Lu frontier, and it is doubtful 
if he was ever 300 miles, as the crow flies, from his own house 
in Lu ; true, he visited the fringe of Ts'u, but it must be 
remembered that the place he visited was only in modern Ho 
Nan province, and was one of the recent conquests of Ts { u, 
belonging to the Hwai River system. As we explained in the 
last chapter, Ts'u's policy then was to work up eastwards to the 
river Sz ; that is, to the Grand Canal of to-day. Confucius, it is 
plain, was no mere pedant ; for we have seen how, in the year 
500, when he first enjoyed high political power, he displayed 
conspicuously great strategical and diplomatic ability in defeat- 
ing the treacherous schemes of the ruler of Ts'i, who had been 
endeavouring to filch Lu territory, and who was dreadfully 
afraid lest Lu should, through Wu's favour, acquire the 
hegemony or protectorship. He could even be humorous, for 
when the barbarian King of Wu put in a demand for a 
" handsome hat," Confucius contemptuously observed that 
the gorgeousness of a hat's trimmings appealed to this 
ignorant monarch more than the emblem of rank distinguishing 
one hat from another. 

Sung provided one distinguished statesman in Hiang Siih, 
whose fame is bound up with a kind of Hague Disarmament 
or Peace Conference, which he successfully engineered in 546 
B.C. (see Appendix No. 3). In the year 558 he had been sent 
on a marriage mission to Lu. Ki-chah of Wu, who died at the 9 ^«L 
ripe age of 90, was quite entitled to be king of that country, 
but he repeatedly waived his claims in favour of his brothers. 


82 Ancient China Simplified 

K'u-peh-yiih of Wei, is mentioned in the Book of Rites, and 
in many other works. With him Confucius lodged on the two 
occasions of long sojourn in Wei : he is the man mentioned in 
Chapter XII. who gave his authoritative " ritual " opinion about 
traitors. Ts'in never seems to have produced a native literary 
statesman on its own soil. During this 500-year period of 
isolated development, and also during the later period of con- 
quest in the third century B.C., all its statesmen were borrowed 
from Tsin, or from some orthodox state of China proper ; in 
military genius, however, Ts'in was unrivalled, and a special 
chapter will be devoted to her huge battues. The literary 
reputation of Ts'u was high at a comparatively early date, and 
even now the " Elegies of Ts'u " include some of the very 
finest of the Chinese poems and belles lettres ; but in Confucius' 
time no Ts'u man, except possibly Lao-tsz, had any reputation 
at all ; and Lao-tsz, being a mere archive keeper, not entrusted 
with any influential office, naturally lacked opportunity to 
emerge from the chrysalis stage. Moreover, the imperial 
dynasty, which Lao-tsz served, had no political influence at 
all : it was an ironical saying of the times ; " the best civilians 
are Ts'u's, but they all serve other states," (meaning that the 
Ts'u rule was too capricious to attract talent). Hence, apart 
from the fact that Confucius doubted the wisdom of Lao-tsz's 
novel philosophy, Confucius had no occasion whatever to 
mention the secluded, self-contained old man in his political 
history, or, rather, in his bald annals of royal movements. 



WHAT sort of folk were the masses of China, upon whom the 
ruling classes depended, then as now, for their support ? In 
the year 594 B.C. the model state of Lu for the first time 
imposed a tax of ten per cent, upon each Chinese " acre " of 
land, being about one-sixth of an English acre : as the tax was 
one-tenth, it matters not what size the acre was. Each cultivator 
under the old system had an allotment of 100 such acres for 
himself, his parents, his wife, and his children ; and in the 
centre of this allotment were 10 acres of " public land," the 
produce of which, being the result of his labour, went to 
the State ; there was no further taxation. A "mile," being about 
one-third of an English mile, and, therefore, in square measure 
one-ninth of an English square mile, consisted of 300 fathoms 
(taking the fathom roughly), and its superficies contained 
900 " acres," of which 80 were public under the above arrange- 
ment, 820 remaining for the eight families owning this " well- 
field " — so called because the ideograph for a " well " represents 
nine squares : a four-sided square in the centre, four three- 
sided squares impinging on it ; and four two-sided squares at 
the corners; i.e. 100 "acres" each, plus 2 \ "acres" each for 
" homestead and onions " ; or 20 of these last in all. Nine 
cultivators in one " well," multiplied by four, formed a town- 
ship, and four townships formed a "cuirass" of 144 armed 
warriors ; but this was under a modified system introduced 
four years later (590). It will be observed that the arithmetic 
seems confused, if not faulty ; but that does not seriously affect 


84 Ancient China Simplified 

the genuineness of the picture, and may be ignored as mere 

The ancient classification of people was into four groups. 
The scholar people employed themselves in studying tao and 
the sciences, from which we plainly see that the doctrine of 
tao, or " the way," existed long before Lao-tsz, in Confucius' 
time, superadded a mystic cosmogony upon it, and made of 
it a socialist or radical instead of an imperialist or conservative 
doctrine. The second class were the trading people, who 
dealt in " produce from the four quarters " ; there is evidence 
that this meant chiefly cattle, grain, silk, horses, leather, and 
gems. The third class were the cultivators, and in those days 
tea and cotton, amongst other important products of to-day, 
were totally unknown. The fourth class consisted of handi- 
craftsmen, who naturally made all things they could sell, or 
knew how to make. 

Another classification of men is the following, which was 
given to the King of Ts'u by a sage adviser, presumably an 
importation from orthodox China. He divided people into 
ten classes, each inferior class owing obedience to its superior, 
and the highest of all owing obedience only to the gods or 
spirits. First, the Emperor ; secondly, the " inner " dukes, 
or grandees of estates within the imperial domain : these 
grandees were dukes proper, not dukes by posthumous courtesy 
like the vassal princes after decease, and the Emperor used 
to send them on service, when required, to the vassal states ; 
they were, in fact, like the " princes of the Church," or cardinals, 
who surround the Pope. Thirdly, " the marquesses," that is 
the semi-independent vassal states, no matter whether duke, 
marquess, earl, viscount, or baron ; this term seems also to 
include the reigning lords of very small states which did not 
possess even the rank of baron, and which were usually 
attached to a larger state as clients, under protectorate ; in 
fact, the recognized stereotyped way of saying "the vassal 

Ancient China Simplified 85 

rulers " was " the marquesses." Then came what we should 
call the "middle classes," or bourgeoisie, followed by the 
artisans and cultivators: it will be noticed that the artisans 
are here given rank over the cultivators, which is not in 
accord with either very ancient or very modern practice ; 
this, indeed, places cultivators before both traders and 
artisans. Lastly came the police, the carriers of burdens, the 
eunuchs, and the slaves. By " police " are meant the runners 
attached to public offices, whose work too often involves 
" squeezing " and terrorizing, torturing, flogging, etc. To the 
present day police, barbers, and slaves require three generations 
of purifying, or living down, before their descendants can 
enter for the public examinations ; or, to use the official 
expression, their " three generations " must be " clear " ; at 
least so it was until the old Confucian examination system 
was abolished as a test for official capacity a few years ago. 
Of eunuchs we shall have more to say shortly ; but very little 
indeed is heard of private slaves, who probably then, as now, 
were indistinguishable from the ordinary people, and were 
treated kindly. The callous Greek and still more brutal 
Roman system, not to mention the infinitely more cowardly 
and shocking African slavery abuses of eighteenth-century 
Europe and nineteenth-century America, have never been 
known in China : no such thing as a slave revolt has ever 
been heard of there. 

In the year 548 the kingdom of Ts'u ordered a cadastral 
survey, and also a general stock-taking of arms, chariots, and 
horses. Records were made of the extent and value of 
the land in each parish, the extent of the mountains and 
forests, and the resources they might furnish. Observation was 
also made of lakes and marshes suitable for sport, and it was 
forbidden to fill these in. Note was taken of such hills and 
mounds as might be available for tombs — a detail which shows 
that modern graves in China differ little if at all from the 

86 Ancient China Simplified 

ancient ones ; in fact in Canton " my hill," or " mountain," is 
synonymous with " my cemetery." In order to fix the taxes 
at a just figure, stock was taken of the salt-flats, the un- 
productive lands, and the tracts liable to periodical inundation. 
Areas rescued from the waters were protected by dykes, and 
subdivided for allotment by sloping banks, but without intro- 
ducing the rigid nine-square system. Good lands, however, 
were divided according to the method introduced by the Chou 
dynasty ; that is to say, six feet formed a " fathom," ioo fathoms 
an "acre," ioo "acres" the allotment of one family; these 
English terms are, of course, only approximately correct. 
Nine families still formed a hamlet or "well," and they 
cultivated together iooo " acres," the central hundred going 
to pay the imposts. Taxes, direct and indirect, were fixed 
with exactitude, and also the number of war-chariots that each 
parish had to furnish ; the number of horses ; their value, age, 
and colour; the number of armoured troopers and foot 
soldiers, with a return of their cuirasses and shields. Regard- 
ing this colour classification of the horses, it may be mentioned 
that the Tartars, in the second century B.C., were in the habit 
of equipping whole regiments of cavalry on mounts of the 
same colour, and it is, therefore, possible that this practice 
may have been imitated in South China ; but Ts ( u never once 
herself engaged in warfare with the Tartars ; at all events with 
Tartars other than Tartars brought into Chinese settlements. 

Long before this, the philosopher-statesman Kwan-tsz of 
Ts'i had so developed the agriculture, fisheries, trade, and salt 
gabelle, and had governed the country in such a way that his 
State, hitherto of minor importance, soon took the lead amongst 
the Chinese powers for wealth and for military influence. 
His classification of the people was into scholars, artisans, 
traders, and agriculturalists. He is generally credited with 
having introduced the "Babylonian woman" into the Ts'i 
metropolis, in order that traders, having sold their goods 

Ancient China Simplified 87 

there, might leave as much as possible of their money behind 
in the houses of pleasure. There are many accounts of the 
luxury of this populous city, where " every wpman possessed 
one long and one short needle," and where a premium levied 
upon currency, fish, and salt was applied to the relief of the 
poor and (!) to the rewarding of virtue. Kwan-tsz also main- 
tained a standing army, or perhaps a militia force, of 30,000 
men ; but he was careful so to husband his strength that Ts'i 
should not have the external appearance of dominating ; his 
aim was that she should rather hold her power in reserve, and 
only use it indirectly: as we have seen, his master was, in 
consequence of Kwan-tsz's able administration, raised to the 
high position of the first of the Five Protectors. 

From this it will be plain that there was considerable 
commercial activity in China even before the time of Con- 
fucius : there was quite a string of fairs or market towns 
extending from the imperial reserve eastwards along the 
Yellow River to Choh-chou (still so called, south of Peking), 
which was then the most northernly of them : apparently each 
considerable state possessed one of these fairs. The head- 
waters of the River Hwai system were served by the great 
mart (now called Yii Chou) belonging to the state of Cheng. 
As with our own histories, Chinese annals consist chiefly of 
the record of what kings and grandees did, and mention of 
the people is only occasional ; and, even then, only in connection 
with the policy of their leaders. 

As soon as the second of the Protectors, the Marquess of 
Tsin, was seated on his ancestral throne (637), his first act 
was to reduce the tolls and make the roads safer ; to facilitate 
trade, and to encourage agriculture. Also to " make friends 
of the eleven great families" (already mentioned twice in 
preceding pages), whose development, however, in time led to 
the collapse of this princely power, and to its division between 
three of the " great families." A century after this, a minister 

88 Ancient China Simplified 

of the Ts'u state praised very highly the efficiency of the 
Tsin administration. "The common people are devoted to 
agriculture ; the merchants, artisans, and menials are all 
dutiful." For the conveyance of grain between the Ts'in and 
the Tsin capitals, both carts and boats were requisitioned, 
from which we must assume that there were practicable roads 
of some sort for two- wheeled vehicles. In the year 546, when 
some important reserves were made by Tsin at the Peace 
Conference, an express messenger was sent from Sung to the 
Ts'u capital to take the king's pleasure : this means an over- 
land journey from the sources of the Hwai to the modern 
treaty port of Sha-shi* above Hankow. 

It may be added that, five centuries before Kwan-tsz 
existed, the founder of the Ts'i state, as a vassal to the new 
Chou dynasty, had already distinguished himself by en- 
couraging trade, manufactures, fisheries, and the salt pro- 
duction ; so that Kwan-tsz was an improver rather than an 

Thus we see that, from very early times, China was by no 
means a sleepy country of ignorant husbandmen, but was 
a place full of multifarious activities ; and that her local rulers, 
at least from the time when the patriarchal power of the 
Emperors decayed in 771, were often men of considerable 
sagacity, quite alive to the necessity of developing their 
resources and encouraging their people : this helps us to 
understand their restlessness under the yoke of " ritual." 



There is singularly little mention of writing or education in 
ancient times, and it seems likely that written records were at 
first confined to castings or engravings upon metal, and carvings 
upon stone. In the days when the written character was 
cumbrous, there would be no great encouragement to use it 
for daily household purposes. It is a striking fact, not only 
that writings upon soft clay, afterwards baked, were not only 
non-existent in China, but have never once been mentioned 
or conceived of as being a possibility. This fact effectually 
disposes of the allegation that Persian and Babylonian literary 
civilization made its way to China, for it is unreasonable to 
suppose that an invention so well suited to the clayey soil (of 
loess mud with cementing properties) in which the Chinese 
princes dwelt could have been ignored by them, if ever the 
slightest inkling of it had been obtained. 

In 770 B.C., when the Emperor, having moved his capital 
to the east, ceded his ancestral lands in the west to Ts'in on 
condition that Ts'in should recover them permanently from 
the Tartars, the document of cession was engraved upon a 
metal vase. Fifteen hundred years before this, the Nine 
Tripods of the founder of the Hia dynasty, representing 
tributes of metal brought to the Emperor by outlying tribes, 
were inscribed with records of the various productions of China : 
these tripods were ever afterwards regarded as an attribute of 
imperial authority ; and even Ts'u, when it began to presume 
upon the Chou Emperor's weakness, put in a claim (probably 


90 Ancient China Simplified 

based upon his ancestors' own ancient Chinese descent, as 
explained in Chapter IV.) to possess them. 

In distributing the fiefs amongst relatives and friends, the 
first Chou emperors " composed orders " conferring rights upon 
their new vassals ; but it is not stated what written form these 
orders took. Written prayers for the recovery of the first 
Emperor's health are mentioned, but here again we are 
ignorant of the material on which the prayers were written 
by the precentor. Four hundred years later, in 6$ I, when Ts'in 
had assisted to the throne his neighbour the Marquess of Tsin, 
the latter gave a promise in writing to Ts'in that he would 
cede to her all the territory lying to the west of the Yellow 
River. The next ruler of Tsin, the celebrated wanderer who 
afterwards became the second Protector, is distinctly stated to 
have had an adviser who taught him to read ; it is added that 
the same marquess also consulted this adviser about a suitable 
teacher for his son and heir. About the same time one of the 
Marquess's friends, objecting to take office, took to flight : his 
friends, as a protest, hung up " a writing " at the palace gate. 
In 584 a Ts'u refugee in Tsin sends a writing to the leading 
general of Ts'u, threatening to be a thorn in his side. It is 
presumed that in all these cases the writing was on wood. 
The text of a declaration of war against Ts'u by Ts'in in 3 1 3 
B.C., at a time when these two powers had ceased to be allies, 
and were competing for empire, refers to an agreement made 
three centuries earlier between the King of Ts'u and the Earl 
of Ts'in : this declaration was carved upon several stone 
tablets ; but it does not appear upon what material the older 
agreement was carved. In 538, at a durbar held by Ts'u, 
Hiang Siih, the learned man of Sung, who has already been 
mentioned in Chapter XV. as the inventor of Peace Confer- 
ences in 546, and as one of the Confucian group of friends, 
remarked : " What I know of the diplomatic forms to be 
observed is only obtained from books." A few years later, 

Ancient China Simplified 91 

when the population of one of the small orthodox Chinese 
states was moved for political convenience by Ts'u away to 
another district, they were allowed to take with them " their 
maps, cadastral survey, and census records." 

There is an interesting statement in the Kwoh Yii, an jgR §§• 
ancillary history of these times, but touching more upon 
personal matters, usually considered to have been written by 
the same man that first expanded Confucius* annals, to the 
effect that in 489 B.C. (when Confucius was wandering about 
on his travels, a disappointed and disgusted man) the King 
of Wu inflicted a crushing defeat upon Ts'i at a spot not far 
from the Lu frontier, and that he captured "the national 
books, 800 leather chariots, and 3000 cuirasses and shields." 
If this translation be perfectly accurate, it is interesting as 
showing that Ts'i did possess Kwoh-shu, or " a State library," 
or archives. But unfortunately two other histories mention 
the capture of a Ts'i general named Kwoh Hia, alias Kwoh 
Hwei-tsz, so that there seems to be a doubt whether, in tran- 
scribing ancient texts, one character [shu) may not have been 
substituted for the other (hia). Two years later the barbarian 
king in question entered Lu, and made a treaty with that 
state upon equal terms. 

Shortly after this date, the Chinese adviser who brought 
about the conquest of Wu by the equally barbarous Yiieh, had 
occasion to send a " closed letter " to a man living in Ts'u. 
When we come to later times, subsequent to the death of Con- 
fucius, we find written communications more commonly spoken 
of. Thus, in 313, Ts'i, enraged at the supposed faithlessness of 
Ts'u, "broke in two the Ts'u tally," and attached herself to 
Ts'in instead. This can only refer to a wooden " indenture," of 
which each party preserved a copy, each fitting in, " dog's 
teeth like," as the Chinese still say, closely to the other. A 
few years later we find letters from Ts'i to Ts'u, holding forth 
the tempting project of a joint attack upon Ts'in ; and also a 

92 Ancient China Simplified 

letter from Ts'in to Ts'u, alluding to the escape of a hostage 
and the cause of a war. In the year 227, when Ts'in was 
rapidly conquering the whole empire, the northernmost state 
of Yen (Peking plain), dreading annexation, conceived the 
plan of assassinating the King of Ts'in ; and, in order to give 
the assassin a plausible ground for gaining admittance to the 
tyrant's presence, sent a map of Yen, so that the roads avail- 
able for troops might be explained to the ambitious conqueror, 
who would fall into the trap. He barely escaped. 

All these matters put together point to the clear conclusion 
that such states as Ts'in, Tsin, Ts'i, Yen, and Ts'u (none of 
which belonged, so far as the bulk of their population was 
concerned, to the purely Chinese group concentrated in the 
limited area described in the first chapter) were able to com- 
municate by letter freely with each other : a fortiori, therefore, 
must the orthodox states, whose civilization they had all 
borrowed or shared, have been able to communicate with 
them, and with each other. Besides, there is the question of 
the innumerable treaties made at the durbars, and evidently 
equally legible by all the dozen or so of representatives pre- 
sent ; and the written prayers, already instanced, which were 
probably offered to the gods at most sacrifices. A special 
chapter will be devoted to treaties. 

In the year 523 the following passage occurs, or rather it 
occurs in one of the expanded Confucian histories having 
retrospective reference to matters of 523 B.C : — "It is the 
father's fault if, at the binding up of the hair (eight years 
of age), boys do not go to the teacher, though it may be 
the mother's fault if, before that age, they do not escape the 
dangers of fire and water : it is their own fault if, having gone 
to the teacher, they make no progress : it is their friends' fault 
if they make progress but get no repute for it : it is the 
executive's fault if they obtain repute but no recommendation 
to office : it is the prince's fault if they are recommended for 

Ancient China Simplified 93 

office but not appointed." Here we have in effect the nucleus 
at least of the examination system as it was until a year or 
two ago, together with an inferential statement that education 
was only meant for the governing classes. 

It is rather remarkable that the invention of the ■ ' greater 
seal " character in 827 B.C. practically coincides with the first 
signs of imperial decadence ; this is only another piece of evi- 
dence in favour of the proposition that enlightenment and 
patriarchal rule could not exist comfortably together. When 
Ts'in conquered the whole of modern China 600 years later, 
unified weights and measures, the breadth of axles, and written 
script, and remedied other irregularities that had hitherto 
prevailed in the rival states, it is evident that the need of a 
more intelligible script was then found quite as urgent as the 
need of roads suitable for all carts, and of measures by which 
those carts could bring definite quantities of metal and grain 
tribute to the capital. Accordingly the First August Em- 
peror's prime minister did at once set to work to invent the 
" lesser seal" character, in which (so late as A.D. 200) the. first 
Chinese dictionary was written ; this "lesser seal" is still fairly 
readable after a little practice, but for daily use it has long 
been and is impracticable and obsolete. If we reflect how 
difficult it is for us to decipher the old engrossed charters 
and written letters of the English kings, we may all the more 
easily imagine how even a slight change in the form of 
"letters," or strokes, will make easy reading of Chinese 
impossible. It is a mistake to suppose that the Chinese have 
to "spell their way" laboriously through the written character so 
familiar to them : it is just as easy to " skim over " a Chinese 
newspaper in a few minutes as it is to " take in " the leading 
features of the Times in the same limited time ; and volumes 
of Chinese history or literature in general can be "gutted" 
quite easily, owing to the facility with which the so-called 
pictographs, once familiar, lend themselves to " skipping." 


Ancient China Simplified 

The Bamboo Books, dug up in a.d. 281, the copies of the 
classics concealed in the walls of Confucius' house, the copy of 
Lao-tsz's philosophical work recorded to have been in the 
possession of a Chinese empress in 1 50 B.C. — all these were 
written in the " greater seal," and the painstaking industry of 
Chinese specialists was already necessary when the Christian 
era began, in order to reduce the ancient characters to more 
modern forms. Since then the written character has been 
much clarified and simplified, and it is just as easy to express 
sentiments in written Chinese as in any other language ; but, 
of course, when totally new ideas are introduced, totally new 
characters must be invented ; and inventions, both of individual 
characters and of expressions, are going on now. 



TREATIES were always very solemn functions, invariably 
accompanied by the sacrifice of a victim. A part of the victim, 
or of its blood, was thrown into a ditch, in order that the Spirit 
of the Earth might bear witness to the deed ; the rest of the 
blood was rubbed upon the lips of the parties concerned, and 
also scattered upon the documents, by way of imprecation ; 
sometimes, however, the imprecations, instead of being uttered, 
were specially written at the end of the treaty. Just as we now 
say " the ink was scarcely dry before, etc., etc.," the Chinese used 
to say " the blood of the victim was scarcely dry on their lips, 
before, etc., etc." When the barbarian King of Wu succeeded 
for a short period in " durbaring " the federal Chinese princes, a 
dispute took place (as narrated in Chapter XIV.) between Tsin 
and Wu as to who should rub the lips with blood first — in 
other words, have precedence. In the year 541 B.C., sixty years 
before the above event, Tsin and Ts'u had agreed to waive the 
ceremony of smearing the lips with blood, to choose a victim 
in common, and to lay the text of the treaty upon the victim 
after a solemn reading of its contents. This modification was 
evidently made in consequence of the disagreement between 
Tsin and Ts'u at the Peace Conference of 546, when a dispute 
had arisen (page 47), as to which should smear the lips first. 
This was the occasion on which the famous Tsin statesman, 
Shuh Hiang, in the face of seventeen states' representatives, all 
present, had the courage to ignore Ts'u's treachery in con- 
cealing cuirasses under the soldiers' clothes. He said : " Tsin 


96 Ancient China Simplified 

holds her pre-eminent position as Protector by her innate good 
qualities, which will always command the adhesion of other 
states ; why need we care if Ts'u smears first, or if she injures 
herself by being detected in treachery ? " It has already been 
mentioned that Confucius glosses over or falsifies both the 
above cases, and gives the victory in each instance to Tsin. 
Though these little historical peccadilloes on the part of the saint 
homme are considered even by orthodox critics to be objection- 
able, it must be remembered that it was very risky work writing 
history at all in those despotic times : even in comparatively 
0= :pi. democratic days (100 B.C.), the "father of Chinese history" 
was castrated for criticizing the reigning Emperor in the course 
of issuing his great work ; and so late as the fifth century 
^ A.D. an almost equally great historian was put to death " with 

fiT>.H S0 hi s three generations" for composing a "true history" of the 
Tartars then ruling as Emperors of North China; i.e. for 
disclosing their obscure and barbarous origin. Moreover, 
foreigners who fix upon these trifling specific and admitted 
discrepancies, in order to discredit the general truth of all 
Chinese history, must remember that the Chinese critics, from 
the very beginning, have always, even when manifestly biased, 
been careful to expose errors; the very discrepancies them- 
selves, indeed, tend to prove the substantial truth of the events 
recorded ; and the fact that admittedly erroneous texts still 
stand unaltered proves the reverent care of the Chinese as 
a nation to preserve their defective annals, with all faults, in 
their original condition. 

At this treaty conference of 546 B.C., held at the Sung 
capital, the host alone had no vote, being held superior (as 
host) to all ; and, further, out of respect for his independence, 
the treaty had to be signed outside his gates : the existence 
of the Emperor was totally ignored. 

A generation before this (579) another important treaty 
between the two great rivals, Tsin and Ts'u, had been signed 

Ancient China Simplified 97 

by the high contracting parties outside the walls of Sung. 
The articles provided for community of interest in success 
or failure ; mutual aid in every thing, more especially in 
war ; free use of roads so long as relations remained peace- 
ful ; joint action in face of menace from other powers ; 
punishment of those neglecting to come to court. The 
imprecation ran : " Of him who breaks this, let the armies 
be dispersed and the kingdom be lost ; moreover, let the 
spirits chastise him." Although both orthodox powers pro- 
fessed their anxiety to "protect" the imperial throne, yet, 
seeing that the Emperor was quietly shelved in all these 
conventions, the reference to "court duty" probably refers 
to the duty of Cheng and the other small orthodox states 
to render homage to Tsin or Ts'u (as the case might be) 
as settled by this and previous treaties. In fact, at the Peace 
Conference of 546, it was agreed between the two mesne lords 
that the vassals of Ts'u should pay their respects to Tsin, 
and vice versd. But, during the negotiations, a zealous Tsin 
representative went on to propose that the informal allies of 
the chief contracting powers should also be dragged in : " If 
Ts ( in will pay us a visit, I will try and induce Ts'i to visit 
T'su." These two powers had ententes, Ts'i with Tsin, and Ts'u 
with Ts'in, but recognized no one's hegemony over them. It 
was this surprise sprung upon the Ts'u delegates that neces- 
sitated an express messenger to the king, as recounted at the 
end of Chapter XVI. The King of Ts ( u sent word : " Let 
Ts'in and Ts'i alone ; let the others visit our respective 
capitals." Accordingly it was understood that Tsin and Ts'u 
should both be Protectors, but that neither Ts'in nor Ts'i 
should recognize their status to the point of subordinating 
themselves to the joint hegemons. This was Ts'u's first 
appearance as effective hegemon, but her official cUbut alone 
did not take place till 538. Ts'i and Ts'in had both approved, 
in principle, the terms of peace, but Ts'in sent no representative, 


98 Ancient China Simplified 

whilst Ts'i sent two. It is very remarkable that Sz-ma Ts'ien 
(the great historian of 100 B.C., who was castrated) does not 
mention this important meeting in his great work, either under 
the heading of Ts'i, or of Tsin, or under the headings of 
Sung and Ts'u. It seems, however, really to have had 
good effect for several generations ; but there was some 
thing behind it which shows that love for humanity was 
not the leading motive of the chief parties. Two years 
later it was that the philosophical brother of the King of 
Wu went his rounds among the Chinese princes, and it is 
evident that Ts'u only desired peace with North China 
whilst she tackled this formidable new enemy on the coast. 
Tsin, on the other hand, was in trouble with the " six great 
families " (the survivors of the " eleven great families " con- 
ciliated by the Second Protector), who were gradually under- 
mining the princely authority in Tsin to their own private 

In 572 B.C., when the legitimate ruler of Tsin, who had 
been superseded by irregular successors, was fetched back 
from the Emperor's court, to which he had gone for a quiet 
asylum, he drew up a treaty of conditions with his own 
ministers, and immolated a chicken as sanction ; this idea 
is still occasionally perpetuated in British courts of justice, 
where Chinese, probably without knowing it, draw upon 
ancient history when asked by the court how they are 
accustomed to sanction an oath ; cocks are often also carried 
about by modern Chinese boatmen for purposes of sacrifice. 
In the year 504, after Wu had captured the Ts'u capital, 
one of the petty orthodox Chinese states taken by Ts'u — 
the first to be so taken by barbarians — in 684, but left by 
Ts'u internally independent, declined to render any assistance 
to Wu, unless she could prove her competence to hold per- 
manently the Ts'u territory thus conquered. The King of 
Ts'u was so grateful for this that he drew some blood from 

Ancient China Simplified 99 

the breast of his own half-brother, and on the spot made 
a treaty with the vassal prince. It 662, even in a love vow, 
the ruler of Lu cut his own arm and exchanged drops of 
blood with his lady-love. In 481 the people of Wei (the 
small orthodox state on the middle Yellow River between 
Tsin and Lu) forced one of their politicians to swear 
allegiance to the desired successor under the sanction of a 
sacrificial pig. 

The great Kwan-tsz insisted on his prince carrying out 
a treaty which had been extorted in times of stress ; but, as 
a rule, the most opportunistic principles were laid down, even 
by Confucius himself when he was placed under personal 
stress : " Treaties obtained by force are of no value, as the 
spirits could not then have really been present." In 589 Ts'u 
invaded the state of Wei, just mentioned, and menaced the 
adjoining state of Lu, compelling the execution of a treaty. 
Confucius, who once broke a treaty himself, naturally retrospec- 
tively considered this ducal treaty of no effect, and he even 
goes so far as to avoid mentioning in his annals some of the 
important persons who were present ; he especially " burkes " 
two Chinese ruling princes, who were shameless enough to 
ride in the same chariot with the King of Ts'u, under whose 
predominancy they were, and who were therefore themselves 
under a kind of stress. In 482 one of Confucius' pupils 
made the following casuistical reply to the government of 
Wu on their application for renewal of a treaty with her : 
" It is only fidelity that gives solidity to treaties ; they are 
determined by mutual consent, and it is with sacrifices that 
they are laid before our ancestors ; the written words give 
expression to them, and the spirits guarantee them. A 
treaty once concluded cannot be changed : otherwise it 
were vain to make a new one. Remember the proverb : 
'What needs warming up more may just as well be eaten 
cold 1 " 


Ancient China Simplified 

The ordinary rough-and-ready form of oath or vow 
between individuals was : " If I break this, may I be as this 
river " ; or, " may the river god be witness." There were 
many other similar forms, and it was often customary to 
throw something valuable into the river as a symbol. 



Let us return for a moment to the history of China's 
development. Confucius was born in the autumn of 551 B.C., 
and he died in 479. If we survey the condition of the 
empire during these seventy years, we may begin to under- 
stand better the secret of his teachings, and of his influence in 
later times. When he was a boy of seven or eight years, the 
presence in Lu of Ki-chah, the learned and virtuous brother 
of the barbarian King of Wu, must have opened his eyes 
widely to the ominous rise of a democratic and mixed China. 
Lu, like Tsin, was now beginning to suffer from the " powerful 
family " plague ; in other words, the story of King John and 
his barons was being rehearsed in China. Tsin and Ts c u 
had patched up ancient enmities at the Peace Conference ; 
Tsin during the next twenty years administered snub after 
snub to the obsequious ruler of Lu, who was always turned 
back at the Yellow River whenever he started west to pay 
his respects. Lu, on the other hand, declined to attend the 
Ts'u durbar of 538, held by Ts'u alone only after the approval 
of Tsin had been obtained. In 522 the philosopher Yen-tsz, 
of Ts'i, accompanied his own marquess to Lu in order to 
study the rites there : this fact alone proves that Ts'i, though 
orthodox and advanced, had not the same lofty spiritual 
status that was the pride of Lu. In 517 the Marquess of 
Lu was driven from his throne, and Ts'i took the oppor- 
tunity to invade Lu under pretext of assisting him ; however, 
the fugitive preferred Tsin as a refuge, and for many years 


102 Ancient China Simplified 

was quartered at a town near the common frontier. But the 
powerful families (all branches of the same family as the 
duke himself) proved too strong for him ; they bribed 
the Tsin statesmen, and the Lu ruler died in exile in the 
year 5 10. In the year 500 Confucius became chief counsellor 
to the new marquess, and by his energetic action drove into 
exile in Tsin a very formidable agitator belonging to one 
of the powerful family cliques. In 488 the King of Wu, 
after marching on Ts'i, summoned Lu to furnish "one 
hundred sets of victims " as a mark of compliancy ; the king 
and the marquess had an interview ; the next year the king 
came in person, and a treaty was made with him under the 
very walls of K'iih-fu, the Lu capital (this shameful fact is 
concealed by Confucius, who simply says : " Wu made war 
on us"). In 486 Lu somewhat basely joined Wu in an 
attack upon orthodox Ts'i. In 484-483 Confucius, who 
had meanwhile been travelling abroad for some years in 
disgust, was urgently sent for ; four years later he died, a 
broken and disappointed man. 

Now, it is one thing to be told in general terms that 
Confucius represented conservative forces, disapproved of the 
quarrelsome wars of his day, and wished in theory to restore 
the good old " rules of propriety " ; but quite another thing 
to understand in a human, matter-of-fact sort of way what 
he really did in definite sets of circumstances, and what 
practical objects he had in view. The average European 
reader, not having specific facts and places under his eye, 
can only conceive from this rough generalization, and from 
the usual anecdotal tit-bits told about him, that Confucius 
was an exceedingly timid, prudent, benevolent, and obsequious 
old gentleman who, as indeed his rival Lao-tsz hinted to him, 
was something like a superior dancing-master or court usher. 
But when the disjointed apothegms of his " Analects " (put 
together, not by himself, but by his disciples) are placed 

Ancient China Simplified 103 

alongside the real human actions baldly touched upon in 
his own "Springs and Autumns," and as expanded by his 
three commentators, one of them, at least, being a con- 
temporary of his own, things assume quite a different com- 
plexion. Moreover, this last-mentioned or earliest in date 
of the expanders (see p. 91) also composed a chatty, anecdotal, 
and intimately descriptive account of Lu, Ts'i, Tsin, Cheng, 
Ts'u, Wu, and Yiieh (of no other states except quite inci- 
dentally) ; and we have also the Bamboo Books dug up 
in 281 A.D., being the Annals of Tsin and a sketch of 
general history down to 299 B.C. Finally, the "father of 
history," in about 90 B.C., published, or issued ready for pub- 
lication, a resumi of all the above (except what was in the 
Bamboo Books, which were then, of course, unknown to him) ; 
so that we are able to compare dates, errors, misprints, con- 
cealments, and so on; not to mention the advantage of 
reading all that the successive generations of commentators 
have had to say. 

The matter may be compendiously stated as follows. 
Without attempting to go backward beyond the conquest by 
the Chou principality and the founding of a Chou dynasty in 
1 122 B.C. (though there is really no reason to doubt the sub- 
stantial accuracy of the vague " history " of patriarchal times, 
at least so far back beyond that as to cover the 1000 years or 
more of the two previous dynasties' reigns), we may state that, 
whilst in general the principles and ritual of the two previous 
dynasties were maintained, a good many new ideas were 
introduced at this Chou conquest, and amongst other things, 
a compendious and all-pervading practical ritual government, 
which not only marked off the distinctions between classes, 
and laid down ceremonious rules for ancestral sacrifice, social 
deportment, family duties, cultivation, finance, punishment, 
and so on, but endeavoured to bring all human actions 
whatsoever into practical harmony with supposed natural 

104 Ancient China Simplified 

laws ; that is to say, to make them as regular, as compre- 
hensible, as beneficent, and as workable, as the perfectly 
manifest but totally unexplained celestial movements were ; 
as were the rotation of seasons, the balancing of forces, the 
growth and waning of matter, male and female reproduction, 
light and darkness ; and, in short, to make human actions as 
harmonious as were all the forces of nature, which never fail 
or go wrong except under (presumed) provocation, human or 
other. The Emperor, as Vicar of God, was the ultimate 
^ judge of what was too, or the " (right) way." 

Now this simple faith, when the whole of the Chinese 
Empire consisted of about 50,000 square miles of level plain, 
inhabited probably by not more than 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 
homogeneous people, was admirably suited for the patriarchal 
rule of a central chief (the King or Emperor), receiving simple 
tribute of metals, hemp, cattle, sacrificial supplies, etc. ; enter- 
taining his relatives and princely friends when they came to do 
annual homage and to share in periodical sacrifice ; declaring 
the penal laws (there were no other laws) for all his vassals ; 
compassionating and conciliating the border tribes living beyond 
those vassals. But this peaceful bucolic life, in the course of 
time and nature, naturally produced a gradual increase in the 
population ; the Chinese cultivators spread themselves over 
the expanse of loess formed by the Yellow River and Desert 
deposits and by aeons of decayed vegetation in the low-lying 
lands ; no other nation or tribe within their ken having the 
faintest notion of written character, there was consequently no 
political cohesion of any sort amongst the non-Chinese tribes ; 
the position was akin to that of the European powers grafting 
themselves for centuries upon the still primitive African 
tribes, comparatively few of which have seen fit to turn the 
art of writing to the practical purpose of keeping records and 
cementing their own power. Wherever a Chinese adventurer 
went, there he became founder of a state ; to this day we see 

Ancient China Simplified 105 

enterprising Chinamen founding petty "dynasties" in the 
Siamese Malay Peninsula ; or, for instance, an Englishman 
like Rajah Brooke founding a private dynasty in Borneo. 

Some of these frontier tribes, notably the Tartars, were 
of altogether too tough a material to be assimilated. They 
even endeavoured to check the Chinese advance beyond the 
Yellow River, and carried fire and sword themselves into the 
federal conclave. Where resistance was nil or slight, as, for 
instance, among some of the barbarians to the east, there the 
Chinese adventurers, either adopting native ways, or persuad- 
ing the autochthones to adopt their ways, by levelling up or 
levelling down, developed strong cohesive power ; besides 
(owing to the difficulties of inter-communication) creating a 
feeling of independence and a disinclination to obey the central 
power. The emperors who used in the good old days to 
summon the vassals — a matter of a week or two in that small 
area — to chastise the wicked tribes on their frontiers, gradually 
found themselves unable to cope with the more distant Tartar 
hordes, the eastern barbarians of the coast, the Annamese, 
Shans, and other unidentified tribes south of the Yang-tsz, 
as they had so easily done with nearer tribes when the 
Chinese had not pushed out so far. Moreover, new-Chinese, 
Chinese-veneered, and half-Chinese states, recognizing their 
own responsibilities, now interposed themselves as "buffers" 
or barriers between the Emperor and the unadulterated bar- 
barians ; these hybrid states themselves were quite as formid- 
able to the imperial power as the displaced barbarians had 
formerly been. Hence, as we have seen, the pitiful flight from 
his metropolis of one Emperor after the other ; the rise of great 
and wealthy persons outside the former limited sacred circle ; 
the pretence of protecting the Emperor, advanced by these 
rising powers, partly in order to gain prestige by using his 
imperial name in support of their local ambitions, and partly 
because — as during the Middle Ages in the case of the Papacy 


Ancient China Simplified 

— no one cared to brave the moral odium of annihilating a 
venerable spiritual power, even though gradually shorn of its 
temporal rights and influence. 

Lu was almost on a par with the imperial capital in all 
that concerns learning, ritual, music, sacrifice, deportment, and 
spiritual prestige. Confucius, in his zeal for the recovery of 
imperial rights, was really no more of a stickler for mere form 
than were Tsz-ch'an of Cheng, Ki-chah of Wu, Hiang Suh of 
Sung, Shuh Hiang of Tsin, and others already enumerated ; 
the only distinguishing feature in his case was that he was 
not a high or influential official in his earlier days ; besides, he 
was a Sung man by descent, and all the great families were 
of the Lu princely caste. Thus, for want of better means to 
assert his own views, he took to teaching and reading, to col- 
lecting historical facts, to pointing morals and adorning tales. 
As a youth he was so clever, that one of the Lu grandees, on 
his death-bed, foretold his greatness. It was a great bitterness 
for him to see his successive princely masters first the humble 
servants of Ts'i, then buffeted between Tsin and Ts'u, finally 
invaded and humiliated by barbarian Wu, only to receive 
the final touches of charity at the hands of savage Yiieh. 
His first act, when he at last obtained high office, was to 
checkmate Ts'i, the man behind the ruler of which jealous 
state feared that Lu might, under Confucius' able rule, succeed 
in obtaining the Protectorate, and thus defeat his own insidious 
design to dethrone the legitimate Ts'i house. The wily 
Marquess of Ts'i thereupon — of course at the instigation of 
the intriguing "great families" — tried another tack, and 
succeeded at last in corrupting the vacillating Lu prince 
with presents of horses, racing chariots, and dancing women. 
Then it was (497) that Confucius set out disheartened on his 
travels. Recalled thirteen years later, he soon afterwards 
began to devote his remaining powers to the Annals so fre- 
quently referred to above, and it was whilst engaged in 

Ancient China Simplified 107 

finishing this task that he had presentiments of his coming 
end ; he does not appear to have been able to exercise much 
political or advisory power after his return to Lu. 

During his thirteen years of travel (a more detailed 
account of which will be given in a subsequent chapter), he 
found time to revise and edit the books which appear to have 
formed the common stock-in-trade for all China ; one of his 
ideas was to eliminate from these all sentiments of an anti- 
imperial nature. They were not then called "classics," but 
simply " The Book " (of History), " The Poems " (still known 
by heart all over China), "The Rites" (as improved by the jgl \ 
Chou family), " The Changes " (a sort of cosmogony combined Jg) 
with soothsaying), and "Music." 

£ Ik 



Let us now consider the notions of law as they existed in the 
primitive Chinese mind. As all government was supposed 
to be based on the natural laws of the universe, of which 
universal law or order of things, the Emperor, as " Son of 
Heaven," was (subject to his own obedience to it) the supreme 
mouthpiece or expression, there lay upon him no duty to 
define that manifest law ; when it was broken, it was for him 
to say that it was broken, and to punish the breach. Nature's 
bounty is the spring, and therefore rewards are conferred in 
spring ; nature's fall is in the autumn, which is the time 
for decreeing punishments ; these are carried out in winter, 
when death steals over nature. A generous table accompanies 
the dispensing of rewards, a frugal table and no music accom- 
panies the allotment of punishments ; hence the imperial feasts 
and fasts. Thus punishment rather than command is what 
was first understood by Law, and it is interesting to observe 
that " making war " and " putting to death " head the list of 
imperial chastisements, war being thus regarded as the 
Emperor's rod in the shape of a posse of punitory police, 
rather than as an expression of statecraft, ambitious greed, 
or vainglorious self-assertion. Then followed, in order of 
severity, castration, cutting off the feet or the knee-cap, 
branding, and flogging. The Emperor, or his vassals, or the 
executive officers of each in the ruler's name, declared the law, 
i.e. they declared the punishment in each case of breach as 
it occurred. Thus from the very beginning the legislative, 


Ancient China Simplified 109 

judicial, and executive functions have never been clearly 
separated in the Chinese system of thought ; new words have 
had to be coined within the last two years in order to express 
this distinction for purposes of law reform. Mercantile Law, 
Family Law, Fishery Laws — in a word, all the mass of what 
we call Commercial and Civil Jurisprudence, — no more con- 
cerned the Government, so far as individual rights were con- 
cerned, than Agricultural Custom, Bankers' Custom, Butchers' 
Weights, and such like petty matters ; whenever these, or 
analogous matters, were touched by the State, it was for 
commonwealth purposes, and not for the maintenance of 
private rights. Each paterfamilias was absolutely master of 
his own family ; merchants managed their own business freely ; 
and so on with the rest. It was only when public safety, 
Government interests, or the general weal was involved that 
punishment-law stepped in and said, — always with tao y " pro- 
priety," or nature's law in ultimate view : " you merchants 
may not wear silk clothes " ; " you usurers must not ruin the 
agriculturalists " ; " you butchers must not irritate the gods of 
grain by killing cattle " : — these are mere examples taken 
at random from much later times. 

The Emperor Muh, whose energies we have already seen 3& J£ 
displayed in Tartar conquests and exploring excursions nearly 
a millennium before our era, was the first of the Chou dynasty 
to decide that law reform was necessary in order to maintain 
order among the " hundred families " (still one of the expres- g) j&fc 
sions meaning " the Chinese people "). A full translation of 
this code is given in Dr. Legge's Chinese classics, where a p£ " J V. c.x*V| 
special chapter of The Book is devoted to it : in charging his S " 'J 
officer to prepare it, the Emperor only uses the words " revise 
the punishments," and the code itself is only known as the 
" Punishments " (of the marquess who drew it up) ; although it 
also prescribes many judicial forms, and lays down precepts 
which are by no means all castigatory. The mere fact of its 

no Ancient China Simplified 

doing so is illustrative of reformed ideas in the embryo. 
There is good ground to suppose that the Chinese Emperor's 
" laws," such as they were at any given time, were solemnly 
and periodically proclaimed in each vassal kingdom ; but, 
subject to these general imperial directions, the themis, diki, 
or inspired decision of the magistrate, was the sole deciding 
factor ; and, of course, the ruler's arbitrary pleasure, whether 
that ruler were supreme or vassal, often ran riot when he found 
himself strong enough to be unjust. For instance, in 894 B.C., 
the Emperor boiled alive one of the Ts'i rulers, an act that 
was revenged by Ts'i 200 years later, as has been mentioned 
in previous chapters. 

In 796 B.C. a ruler of Lu was selected, or rather recom- 
mended to the Emperor for selection, in preference to his 
elder brother, because "when he inflicted chastisement he 
never failed to ascertain the exact instructions left by the 
ancient emperors." This same Emperor had already, in 817, 
nominated one younger brother to the throne of Lu, because 
he was considered the most attractive in appearance on an 
occasion when the brethren did homage at the imperial court. 
For this caprice the Emperor's counsellor had censured him, 
saying : " If orders be not executed, there is no government ; 
if they be executed, but contrary to established rule, the 
people begin to despise their superiors." 

In 746 B.C. the state of Ts'in, which had just then recently 
emerged from Tartar barbarism, and had settled down 
permanently in the old imperial domain, first introduced 
the " three stock " law, under which the three generations, or 
the three family connections of a criminal were executed 
for his crime as well as himself. In 596 and 550 Tsin (which 
thus seems to have taken the hint from Ts'in) exterminated 
the families of two political refugees who had fled to the 
Tartars and to Ts'i respectively. Even in Ts'u the relatives of 
the man who first taught war to Wu were massacred in 585, and 

Ancient China Simplified 1 1 1 

any one succouring the fugitive King of Ts'u was threatened 
with " three clan penalties " ; this last case was in the year 
529. The laws of Ts'u seem to have been particularly harsh ; 
in 551 the premier was cut into four for corruption, and one 
quarter was sent in each direction, as a warning to the local 
districts. About 650 B.C. a distinguished Lu statesman, named 
Tsang Wen-chung, seems to have drawn up a special code, for 
one of Confucius' pupils (two centuries later) denounced it as 
being too severe when compared with Tsz-ch'an's mild laws — 
to be soon mentioned. Confucius himself also described the 
man as being " too showy." This Lu statesman, about twenty 
years later, made some significant and informing observations 
to the ruler of Lu when report came that Tsin (the Second 
Protector) was endeavouring to get the Emperor to poison 
a federal refugee from Wei, about whose succession the 
powers were at the moment quarrelling. He said : " There 
are only five recognized punishments : warlike arms, the axe, 
the knife or the saw, the branding instruments, the whip 
or the bastinado ; there are no surreptitious ones like 
this now proposed." The result was that Lu, being of the 
same clan as the Emperor, easily succeeded in bribing the 
imperial officials to let the refugee prince go. The grateful 
prince eagerly offered Tsang W£n-chung a reward ; but the 
statesman declined to receive it, on the ground that " a subject's 
sayings are not supposed to be known beyond his own master's 
frontier." About a century later a distinguished Tsin states- 
man, asking what " immortality " meant, was told : " When a 
man dies, but when his words live ; like the words of this 
distinguished man, Tsang Wen-chung, of Lu state." This 
same Tsin statesman is said to have engraved some laws on 
iron (513), an act highly disapproved by Confucius. It is only 
by thus piecing together fragmentary allusions that we can 
arrive at the conclusion that "there were judges in those 

1 1 2 Ancient China Simplified 

Mention has been several times made in previous chapters 
of Tsz-ch'an, whose consummate diplomacy maintained the 
independence and even the federal influence of the otherwise 
obscure state of Cheng during a whole generation. In the 
year 536 B.C. he decided to cast the laws in metal for the 
information of the people : this course was bitterly distasteful 
to his colleague, Shuh Hiang of Tsin (see Appendix I.), 
and possibly the Tsin " laws on iron " just mentioned were 
suggested by this experiment, for it must be remembered that 
Tsin, Lu, Wei, and Cheng were all of the same imperial clan. 
Confucius, who had otherwise a genuine admiration for Tsz- 
ch'an, disapproved of this particular feature in his career. In 
a minor degree the same question of definition and publication 
has also caused differences of opinion between English 
lawyers, so far as the so-called "judge-made law" is con- 
cerned ; it is still considered to be better practice to have it 
declared as circumstances arise, than to have it set forth 
beforehand in a code. The arguments are the same ; in both 
cases the judges profess to " interpret " the law as it already 
exists ; that is, the Chinese judge interprets the law of nature, 
and the English judge the common and statute laws ; but 
neither wishes to hamper himself by trying to publish in 
advance a scheme contrived to fit all future hypothetical 

About 680 B.C. the King of Ts'u is recorded to have 
passed a law against harbouring criminals, under which the 
harbourer was liable to the same penalty as the thief; and at 
the same time reference is made by his advisers to an ancient 
law or command of the imperial dynasty, made before it came 
to power in 11 22 B.C. — " If any of your men takes to flight, let 
every effort be made to find hrm." Thus it would seem that 
other ruling classes, besides those of the Chou clan, accepted 
the general imperial laws, Chou-ordained or otherwise. 

Although it is thus manifest that the vassal states, at least 

Ancient China Simplified 113 

after imperial decadence set in, in 771 B.C., drew up and 

published laws of their own, yet, at the great durbar of princes 

held by the First Protector in 65 1 B.C., it is recorded that the 

" Son of Heaven's Prohibitions " were read over the sacrificial 

victim. They are quite patriarchal in their laconic style, and 

for that reason recall that of the Roman Twelve Tables. 

They run : " Do not block springs ! " " Do not hoard grain ! " 

" Do not displace legitimate heirs ! " " Do not make wives of 

your concubines f " " Do not let women meddle with State 

affairs!" From the Chinese point of view, all these are 

merely assertions of what is Nature's law. In the year 640, 

the state of Lu applied the term " Law Gate " to the South :±- p^ 

Gate," because both Emperor and vassal princes face south 

when they rule, and because that is, accordingly, the gate 

through which all commands and laws do pass." It is always 

possible, however, that this " facing south " of the ancient ruler 

points to the direction whence some of his people came, and 

towards which, as their guide and leader, he had to look in 

order to govern them. 

In the year 594 there is an instance cited where two 
dignitaries were killed by direct specific order of the Emperor. 
In explaining this exceptional case, the commentator says : 
"The lord of all below Heaven is Heaven, and Heaven's 
continuer or successor is the Prince ; whilst that which the 
Prince holds fast is the Sanction, which no subject can resist." 

Not very long after Confucius' death in 479 B.C., the 
powerful and orthodox state of Tsin, which had so long held 
its own against Ts'in, Ts'i, and Ts'u, tottered visibly under 
the disintegrating effects of the " great family " intrigues : of 
the six great families which had, as representatives of the 
earlier eleven, latterly monopolized power, three only survived 
internecine conflicts, and at last the surviving three split up 
into the independent states of Han, Wei, and Chao, those \lt J# 1 

names being eponymous, as being their sub-fiefs, and, therefore, 


& *>* 

ii4 Ancient China Simplified 

their "surnames," or family names. In the year 403 the 
Emperor formally recognized them as separate, independent 
vassaldoms. Wei is otherwise known as Liang, owing to the 
capital city having borne that name, and the kings of Liang 
are celebrated for their conversations with the peripatetic 
philosopher, Mencius, in the fourth century B.C. In order to 
distinguish this state from that of Wei (imperial clan) adjoining 
Lu and Sung, we shall henceforth call it Ngwei, as, in fact, it 
originally was pronounced, and as it still is in some modern 
dialects. The first of the Ngwei sovereigns had in his employ 
a statesman named Li K'wei, who introduced, for taxation 
purposes, a new system of land laws, and also new penal laws. 
These last were in six books, or main heads, and, it is said, 
represented all that was best in the laws of the different 
feudal states, mostly in reference to robbery: the minor 
offences were roguery, getting over city walls, gambling, 
borrowing, dishonesty, lewdness, extravagance, and trans- 
gressing the ruler's commands — their exact terms are now 
unknown. This code was afterwards styled the "Law 
Classic," and its influence can be plainly traced, dynasty by 
dynasty, down to modern times ; in fact, until a year or two 
ago, the principles of Chinese law have never radically 
changed ; each successive ruling family has simply taken 
what it found ; modifying what existed, in its own supposed 
interest, according to time, place, and circumstance. Li K'wei's 
land laws singularly resembled those recommended to the 
Manchu Government by Sir Robert Hart four years ago. 


It is difficult to guess how much truth there is in the ancient 
traditions that the water-courses of the empire were improved 
through gigantic engineering works undertaken by the ancient 
Emperors of China. There is one gorge, well known to 
travellers, above Ich'ang, on the River Yang-tsz, on the 
way to Ch'ung-k'ing, where the precipitous rocks on each 
side have the appearance and hardness of iron, and for a 
mile or more — perhaps several miles — stand perpendicularly 
like walls on both sides of the rapid Yang-tsz River: the 
most curious feature about them is that from below the water- 
level, right up to the top, or as far as the eye can reach, 
the stone looks as though it had been chipped away with 
powerful cheese-scoops ; it seems almost impossible that any 
operation of nature can have fashioned rocks in this way; 
on the other hand, what tools of sufficient hardness, driven 
by what great force, could hollow out a passage of such length, 
at such a depth, and such a height ? It is certain that after 
Ts'in conquered the hitherto almost unknown kingdoms of 
Pa and Shuh (Eastern and Western Sz Ch'wan) a Chinese S. 8R 
engineer named Li Ping worked wonders in the canalization & ... 

% vA 

of the so-called Ch ( eng-tu plain, or the rich level region lying 
around the capital city of Sz Ch'wan province, which was so 
long as Shuh endured also the metropolis of Shuh. The 
consular officers of his Britannic Majesty have made a special 
study of these sluices, which are still in full working order, and 
they seem almost unchanged in principle from the period 


u6 Ancient China Simplified 

(280 B.C.) when Li Ping lived. The Chinese still regard this 
branch of the Great River as the source ; or at least they did 
so until the Jesuit surveys of two centuries ago proved other- 
wise ; it was quite natural that they should do so in ancient 
times, for the true upper course, and also Yiin Nan and Tibet 
through which that course runs, were totally unknown to them, 
and unheard of by name ; even now the so-called Lolo country 
of Sz Ch'wan and Yiin Nan is mostly unexplored, and the 
mountain Lolos are quite independent of China. The fact 
that they have whitish skins and a written script of their own 
(manifestly inspired by the form of Chinese characters) makes 
them a specially interesting people. Li Ping's engineering 
feats also included the region around Ya-chou and Kia-ting, 
as marked on the modern maps. 

The founder of the Hia dynasty (2205 B.C.) is supposed to 
have liberated the stagnant waters of the Yellow River and 
sent them to the sea ; as this is precisely what all succeeding 
dynasties have tried to do, and have been obliged to try, and 
what in our own times the late Li Hung-chang was ordered to 
do just before his death, there seems no good reason for 
suspecting the accuracy of the tradition ; the more especially 
as we see that the founder of the Chou dynasty sent his chief 
political adviser and his two most distinguished relatives to 
settle along this troublesome river's lower course, as rulers of 
Ts'i, Yen, and Lu ; the other considerable vassals were all 
ranged along the middle course. 

The original Chinese founder of the barbarian colony of 
Wu belonged, as already explained, to the same clan or family 
as the founder of the Chou dynasty, and in one respect even 
took ancestral or spiritual precedence of him, because the 
emigrant had voluntarily retired into obscurity with his brother 
in order to make way for a third and more brilliant younger 
brother, whose grandson it was that afterwards, in 11 22 B.C., 
conquered China, and turned the Chou principality, hitherto 

Ancient China Simplified 117 

vassal to the Shang dynasty, into the Chou dynasty, to which 
the surviving Shang princes then became vassals in the Sung 
state and elsewhere. Even though the founder of Wu may 
have adopted barbarian ways, such as tattooing, hair-cutting, 
and the like, he must have possessed considerable administra- 
tive power, for he made a canal (running past his capital) for 
a distance of thirty English miles along the new " British " 
railway from Wu-sih to Ch'ang-shuh, as marked on present 
maps ; his idea was to facilitate boat-travelling, and to assist 
cultivators with water supplies for irrigation. 

In the year 485 B.C. the King of Wu, who was then in the 
hey-day of his success, and by way of becoming Protector of 
China, erected a wall and fortifications round the well-known 
modern city of Yangchow (where Marco Polo 1700 years later 
acted as governor) ; he next proceeded for the first time in 
history to establish water communication between the 
Yang-tsz River and the River Hwai ; this canal was then 
(483-481) continued farther north, so as to give communica- 
tion with the southern and central parts of modern Shan 
Tung province. 

His object was to facilitate the conveyance of stores for his 
armies, then engaged in bringing pressure upon Ts'i (North 
Shan Tung) and Lu (South Shan Tung). He succeeded in 
getting his boats to the River Tsi, running past Tsi-nan Fu, and 
to the River I, running past I -chou Fu, thus dominating the Mf\ 
whole Shan Tung region ; for these two were then the only 
navigable rivers in Shan Tung besides the Sz. The River Tsi 
is now taken possession of by the Yellow River, which, as we 
have shown, then ran a parallel course much to the westward 
of it ; and the River I then ran south into the River Sz, which, 
as already explained, has in its lower course, in comparatively 
modern times, been taken possession of permanently by the 
Grand Canal ; but the upper course of the Sz, now, as then, 
ran past Confucius' town, the Lu metropolis, of K'iih-fu. 

n8 Ancient China Simplified 

In 483 B.C. the same king cast his faithful adviser (of Ts'u 
origin) into the canal by which the waters of lake T'ai Hu now 
run to modern Soochow, and thence to Hangchow. Ever since 
that date the unfortunate man in question has been a popular 
11 god of the waters " in those parts. It follows, therefore, that 
the Wu founder's modest canal must have been from time to 
time extended, at least in an easterly direction. It was only 
after the conquest of China by Ts ( in, 250 years later, that the 
First August Emperor extended this system of canals north- 
wards and westwards, from Ch'ang-chou Fu to Tan-yang and 
Chinkiang, as marked on the modern maps. Thus the 
barbarian kings of Wu have found the true alignment of 
our " British " railway for us ; and, so far as the northern 
canal is concerned, have really achieved the task for which 
credit is usually given to Kublai Khan, the Mongol patron of 
Marco Polo. Kublai merely improved the old work. The 
ancient Wu capital was 10 English miles south-east of Wu-sih, 
and 17 miles north of Soochow, to which place the capital was 
transferred in the year 513 B.C., as it was more suitable than 
the old capital for the arsenals and ship-building yards then, 
for the first time, being built on an extensive scale by the 
King of Wu. 

The first bridge over the Yellow River was constructed by 
the kingdom of Ts'in in 257 B.C., on what is still the high-road 
between T'ung-chou Fu and P'u-chou Fu. Previous to that 
date armies had to cross the Yellow River at the fords ; and, 
as an instance of this, it may be stated that the founder of the 
Chou dynasty in 1122 B.C. summoned his vassals to meet him 
at the Ford of Meng, a place still so marked on the maps, and 
lying on the high-road between the two modern cities of 
Ho-nan Fu and Hwai-k'ing Fu ; thus there was no excuse 
for the feudal princes failing to arrive at the rendezvous. It 
was not far from the same place, but on the north bank of the 
river, that Tsin in 632 B.C. held the great durbar as Second 

Ancient China Simplified 119 

Protector, on the notorious occasion when the puppet Emperor 
was " sent for " by the Tsin dictator. To conceal this outrage 
on " the rites," Confucius says : " The Son of Heaven went in 
camp north of the river." To go on hunt, or in camp, is still 
a vague historical expression for " go on fief inspection," and 
it was so used in 1858, when the Manchu Emperor Hien-feng 
took refuge from the allied troops at Jehol in Tartary. 

The first thing Ts'in did when it united the empire in 221 
B.C. was to occupy all the fords and narrow passes, and to put 
them in working order for the passage of armies. As even 
now the lower Yellow River is only navigable for large craft for 
20 miles from its mouth (now in Shan Tung), it is easy to 
imagine how many fords there must have been in its shallow 
waters, and also how it came to pass that boats were so little 
used to convey large bodies of troops with their stores. 

The great wall of China of 217 B.C. was by no means the 
first of its kind. A century before that date Ts'in built a long 
wall to keep off the Tartars ; and, half a century before that 
again, Ngwei (one of the three powerful families of Tsin, all 
made independent princes in 403) had built a wall to keep off 
its western neighbour Ts'in ; both these walls seem to have 
been in the north part of the modern Shen Si region, and they 
were possibly portions of the later continuous great wall of the 
August Emperor, which occupied the forced energies of 700,000 
men. There is a statement that the same Emperor set 700,000 
eunuchs to work on the palaces and the tomb he was con- 
structing for himself at his new metropolis (moved since 350 
B.C. to the city of Hien-yang, north of the river Wei, opposite jK 
the present Si-ngan Fu). This probably means, not that 
eunuchs were common in those times as palace employts^ 
but that castration still was the usual punishment inflicted 
throughout China for grave offences not calling for the penalty 
of death, or for the more' serious forms of maiming, such as 
foot-chopping or knee-slicing ; and that all the prisoners of 

120 Ancient China Simplified 

that degree were told off to do productive work : although 
humiliatingly deformed, they were still available for the 
common purposes of native life, and their defenceless and 
forlorn plight would probably make it an easier matter to 
handle them in gangs than to handle sound males ; and if they 
died off under the rough treatment of task-masters, they 
would have no families to mourn or avenge them in accordance 
with family duty ; for a eunuch has no name and no family. 
The palaces in question were joined by a magnificent bridge 
on the high-road between Hien-yang and Si-ngan. This very 
year a German firm has contracted to build an iron bridge 
over the Yellow River at Lan-chou Fu, where crossed by 
Major Bruce. 


There are singularly few descriptions of cities in ancient 
Chinese history, but here again we may safely assume that 
most of them were in principle, if only on a small scale, very 
much what they are now, mere inartistic, badly built collections 
of hovels. Soul, the quaint capital of Corea, as it appeared in 
its virgin condition to its European discoverers twenty-five 
years ago, probably then closely resembled an ancient vassal 
Chinese prince's capital of the very best kind. Modern trade 
is responsible for the wealthy commercial streets now to be 
found in all large Chinese cities ; but a small hien city in the 
interior — and it must be remembered that a hien circuit or 
district corresponds to an old marquisate or feudal principality 
of the vassal unit type — is often a poor, dusty, dirty, depressing, 
ramshackle agglomeration of villages or hamlets, surrounded 
by a disproportionately pretentious wall, the cubic contents 
of which wall alone would more than suffice to build in 
superior style the whole mud city within ; for half the area 
of the interior is apt to be waste land or stagnant puddles : 
it was so even in Peking forty years ago, and possibly is 
so still except in the " Legation quarter." 

In 745 B.C., when the Tsin marquess foolishly divided his 
patrimony with a collateral branch, the capital town of this 
subdivided state is stated to have been a greater place than 
the old capital. They are both of them still in existence as 


122 Ancient China Simplified 

insignificant towns, situated quite close together on the 
same branch of the River Fen (the only navigable river) 
in South Shan Si ; marked with their old names, too ; 
that is to say, K'iih-wuh and Yih-ch'eng. It was only 
after the younger branch annexed the elder in 679 that 
Tsin became powerful and began to expand ; and it was 
only when a policy of " home rule " and disintegration set in, 
involving the splitting up of Tsin's orthodox power into three 
royal states of doubtful orthodoxy, that China fell a prey 
to Ts'in ambition. Absit omen to us ! 

In 560, when the deformed philosopher Yen-tsz visited 
Ts'u, and entertained that semi-barbarous court with his 
witticisms, he took the opportunity boastfully to enlarge upon 
the magnificence of Lin-tsz (still so marked), the capital of 
Ts'i. " It is," said he, " surrounded by a hundred villages ; 
the parasols of the walkers obscure the sky, whose perspiration 
runs in such streams as to cause rain ; their shoulders and 
heels touch together, so closely are they packed." The 
assembled Ts'u court, with mouths open, but inclined for sport 
at the cost of their visitor, said : "If it is such a grand place, 
why do they select you ? " Yen-tsz played a trump card when 
he replied : " Because I am such a mean-looking fellow ," — 
meaning, as explained in Chapter IX., that "any pitiful rascal 
is good enough to send to Ts'u." Exaggerations apart, how- 
ever, there is every reason to believe that the statesman- 
philosopher Kwan-tsz, a century before that date, had really 
organized a magnificent city. A full description of how he 
reconstructed the economic life of both city and people is 
given in the Kwoh-yii (see Chapter XVII.), the authenticity 
of which work, though not free from question, is, after all, only 
subject to the same class of criticism as R£nan lavishes upon 
one or two of the Gospels, the general tenor of which, he 
says, must none the less be accepted, with all faults, as the 
bona-fide attempt of some one, more or less contemporary, 

Ancient China Simplified 123 

to represent what was then generally supposed to be the 

Ts'u itself must have had something considerable to show 
in the way of public buildings, for in the year 542 B.G, after 
paying a visit to that country in accordance with the provisions 
of the Peace Conference of 546, the ruler of Lu built himself a 
palace in imitation of one he saw there. The original capital 
of Wu (see Chapter VII.) was a poor place, and is described as 
having consisted of low houses in narrow streets, with a vulgar 
palace; this was in 523. In 513 a new king moved to the 
site now occupied by Soochow, and he seems to have made 
of it the magnificent city it has remained ever since — 
the place, of course it will be remembered, where General 
Gordon and Li Hung-chang had their celebrated quarrel 
about decapitating surrendered rebels. There were eight 
gates, besides eight water-gates for boats ; it was eight 
English miles in circuit, and contained the palace, several 
towers (pagodas, being Buddhist, were then naturally un- 
known), kiosks, ponds, and duck preserves. The extensive 
arsenal and ship-yard was quite separate from the main 
town. No city in the orthodox part of China is so closely 
described as this one, nor is it likely that there were many 
of them so vast in extent. 

Judging by the frequency with which Ts'in moved its 
capitals (but always within a limited area in the Wei valley, 
between that river and its tributary the K'ien), they cannot 
have been very important or substantial places ; in fact, there 
are no descriptions of early Ts'in economic life at all ; and, 
for all we know to the contrary, the headquarters of Duke 
Muh, when he entered upon his reforms in the seventh 
century B.C., may have resembled a Tartar encampment. 
The Kwoh-yii has no chapter devoted to Ts'in, which (as 
indeed stated) for 500 years lived a quite isolated life of its 
own. In later times, especially after the reforms introduced 

124 Ancient China Simplified 

by the celebrated Chinese princely adventurer, Wei Yang, 
during the period 360-340, the land administration was 
reconstituted, the capital was finally moved to Hien-yang, 
and every effort was made to develop all the resources of 
the country. Ts'in then possessed 41 hien, those with a 
population of under 10,000 having a governor with a lower 
title than the governors of the larger towns. Probably the 
total population of Ts'in by this time reached 3,000,000. 
A century later, when the First August Emperor was 
conquering China, armies of half a million men on each 
side were not at all uncommon. When his conquests were 
complete, he set about building palaces on both banks of 
the Wei in most lavish style, as narrated in the last chapter. 
It is said of him that, " as he conquered each vassal prince, 
he had a sketch made of his palace buildings," and, with 
these before him as models, he lined the river with rows of 
beautiful edifices, — evidently, from the description given, much 
resembling those lying along the Golden Horn at Constan- 
tinople ; if not in quality, at least in general spectacular 

As to the minor orthodox states grouped along the 
Yellow River, they seem to have shifted their capitals on very 
slight provocation ; scarcely one of them remained from first 
to last in the same place. To take one as an instance, the 
state of Hu, an orthodox state belonging to the same clan 
name as Ts'i. The history of this petty principality or barony 
is only exactly known from the time when Confucius' history 
begins, and it was continually being oppressed by Cheng and 
Ts'u, its more powerful neighbours; in 576, 533, 524, and 
onwards from that, there were incessant removals, so that 
even the native commentators say : " it was just like shifting 
a village, so superficial an affair was it." The accepted belles 
lettres style (see p. 78) of saying " my country " is still the 
ancient//-//// or " unworthy village " : the Empress of China 

Ancient China Simplified 125 

once (about 190 B.C.) used this expression, even after the whole 
of China had been united, in order to reject politely the offer 
of marriage conveyed to her by a powerful Tartar king. The 
expression is particularly interesting, inasmuch as it recalls, 
as we have already pointed out, a time when the " country " 
of each feudal chief was simply his mud village and the 
few square miles of fields around it, which were naturally 
divided off from the next chief's territory by hills and streams. 
On the Burmo-Chinese frontier there are at this moment 
many Kakhyen " kings " of this kind, each of them ruling 
over his mountain or valley, and supreme in his own 
domain. ' 

That there were walled cities in China (apart from the 
Emperor's, which, of course, would be "the city" par 
excellence) is plain from the language used at durbars, which 
were always held " outside the walls." In the loess plains there 
could not have been any stone whatever for building purposes, 
and there is little, if any, specific mention of brick. Probably 
the walls were of adobe^ i.e. of mud, beaten down between 
two rigid planks, removed higher as the wall dries below. 
This is the way most of the houses are still built in 
modern Peking, and perhaps also in most parts of China, 
at least where stone (or brick) is not cheaper ; the " bar- 
barian " parts of China are still the best built ; for instance, 
Ch'eng-tu in Sz Ch'wan, Canton in the south. Hankow 
(Ts'u) is a comparatively poor place ; Peking the dingiest 
of all. Chinkiang is a purely loess country. 

At the time of the unification of China, during the middle 
of the third century B.C., the Ts'in armies found it necessary 
to flood Ta-liang or " Great Liang," the capital of Ngwei (other- 
wise called Liang), corresponding to the modern K'ai-feng Fu, 
the Jewish centre in Ho Nan province : the waters of the 
Yellow River were allowed to flood the country (this was 
again done by the Tai-p'ing rebels fifty years ago, when 

126 Ancient China Simplified 

the Jews suffered like other people, and lost their syna- 
gogue), the walls of which collapsed. It is evident that the 
ancient city walls could not have been such solid, brick-faced 
walls as we now see round Peking and Nanking, but simply 
mud ramparts. 



We must turn to unorthodox China once more, and see how 
it fared after Confucius' death. After only a short century of 
international existence, the vigorous state of Wu perished once 
for all in the year 473 B.C., and the remains of the ruling caste 
escaped eastwards in boats. When for the first time embassies 
between the Japanese and the Chinese became fairly regular, 
in the second and third centuries of our era, there began to be 
persistent statements made in standard Chinese history that 
the then ruling powers in Japan considered themselves in some 
way lineally connected with a Chinese Emperor of 2100 B.C., 
and with his descendants, their ancestors, who, it was said, 
escaped from Wu to China. This is the reason why, in Chapter 
VII., we have suggested, not that the population of Japan came 
from China, but that some of the semi-barbarous descendants 
of those ancient Chinese princes who first colonized the then 
purely barbarous Wu, finding their power destroyed in 473 B.C. 
by the neighbouring barbarous power of Yiieh, settled in 
Japan, and continued their civilizing mission in quite a new 
sphere. Many years ago I endeavoured, in various papers 
published in China and Japan, to show that, apart from Chinese 
words adopted into Japanese ever since A.D. 1 from the two 
separate sources of North China by land and Central China by 
sea, there is clear reason to detect, in the supposed pure 
Japanese language, as it was anterior to those importations, an 
admixture of Chinese words adopted much earlier than a.d. i, 
and incorporated into the current tongue at a time when there 


128 Ancient China Simplified 

was no means or thought of " nailing the sounds down " by 
any phonetic system of writing. There is much other very 
sound Chinese historical evidence in favour of the migration 
view, and it has been best summarized in an excellent little 
work in German, by Rev. A. Tschepe, S.J., published in the 
interior of Shan Tung province only last year. 

The ancient native names for Wu and Yiieh, according to 
the clumsy Confucian way of writing them, were something like 
Keu-ngu2Xi& O-viet (see Chapter VII.) ; but it is quite hopeless 
to attempt reconstruction of the exact sounds intended then 
to be expressed by syllables which, in Chinese itself, have quite 
changed in power. The power of Yiieh was supreme after 473 ; 
its king was voted Protector by the federal princes, and in 472 
he held a grand durbar at the " Lang-ya Terrace," which place is 
no longer exactly identifiable, but is probably nothing more than 
the German settlement at Kiao Chou ; in 468 he transferred his 
capital thither, and it remained there for over a century, till 
379 : but his power, it seems, was almost purely maritime, and 
he never succeeded in obtaining a sure footing north of or even 
in the Hwai valley, the greater part of which he subsequently 
returned to Ts'u. It must be remembered that the Hwai then 
had a free course to the sea, and of a part of it, the now extinct 
Sui valley, the Yellow River took possession for several cen- 
turies up to 185 1 A.D. He also returned to Sung the territory 
Wu had taken from her, and made over to Lu 100 li square 
(30 miles) to the east of the River Sz ; to understand this it 
must be remembered, at the cost of a little iteration, that Sung 
and Lu were the two chief powers of the middle and lower Sz 
valley, which is now entirely monopolized by the Grand Canal. 
The imperial dynasty went from bad to worse ; in 440 there 
were family intrigues, assassinations, and divisions. The imperial 
metropolis, which was towards the end about all the Emperors 
had left to them, was divided into two, each half ruled by an 
Eastern and a Western Emperor respectively ; unfortunately, no 



1. The dotted lines mark the 
boundaries of modern Shen Si, 
Shan Si, Chih Li, Ho Nan, 
Shan Tung, An Hwei, and 
Kiang Su. 

2. The names Chao, Ngwei, 
and Han show how Tsin was 
split up into three in 403 B.C. 

3. The crosses (in the line of 
each name) show the successive 
capitals as Ts'in encroached 
from the west, the last capital 
in each case having a circle 
round the cross. 





Rl V 

1. The dotted lines mark the 
boundaries of modern Shen Si, 
Shan Si, Chih Li, Ho Nan, 
Shan Tung, An Hwei, and 
Kiang Su. 

2. The names Chao, Ngwei, 
and Han show how Tsin was 
split up into three in 403 B.C. 

3. The crosses (in the line of 
each name) show the successive 
capitals as Ts'in encroached 
from the west, the last capital 
in each case having a circle 
round the cross. 

Ancient China Simplified 129 

literature has survived which might depict for us the life of 
the inhabitants during those wretched days. Meanwhile, the 
ambitious great families of Tsin very nearly fell under the 
dictatorship of one of their number ; in 452 he was himself 
annihilated by a combination of the others, and the upshot of 
it was that next year the three families that had crushed the 
dictator and, emerged victorious, divided up the realm of Tsin 
into three separate and practically independent states, called 
respectively Wei or Ngwei (the Shan Si parts), Han (the Ho 
Nan parts), and Chao (the Chih Li parts). The other ancient 
and more orthodox state of Wei, occupying the Yellow River 
valley to the west of Sung and Lu, was now a mere vassal to 
these three Tsin powers, which had not quite yet declared them- 
selves independent, and which had for the present left the old 
Tsin capital to the direct administration of the legitimate prince. 
It was only in the year 403 that the Emperor's administration 
formally declared them to be feudal princes. This year is really 
the next great turning-point in Chinese history, in order of 
date, after the flight of the Emperors from their old capital in 
771 B.C. ; and it is, in fact, with this year that the great modern 
historical work of Sz-ma Kwang begins ; it was published A.D. 
1084, and brings Chinese events down to a century previous to 
that date. 

As to the state of Ts'i, it also had fallen into evil ways. 
So early as 539 B.C., when the two philosophers Yen-tsz and 
Shuh Hiang had confided to each other their mutual sorrows 
(see Appendix No. 2), the former had predicted that the 
powerful local family of T'ien or Ch'en was slowly but surely 
undermining the legitimate princely house, and would certainly 
end by seizing the throne ; one of the methods adopted by the 
supplanting family was to lend money to the people on very 
favourable terms, and so to manipulate the grain measures that 
the taxes due to the prince were made lighter to bear ; in this 
ingenious and indirect way, all the odium of taxation was 


130 Ancient China Simplified 

thrown upon the extravagant princes who habitually squandered 
their resources, whilst the credit for generosity was turned 
towards this powerful tax-farming family, which thus took care 
of its own financial interests, and at the same time secured 
the affections of the people. In 481 the ambitious T'ien Heng, 
alias Ch'en Ch'ang, then acting as hereditary waive du palais 
to the legitimate house, assassinated the ruling prince, an act 
so shocking from the orthodox point of view that Confucius 
was quite heartbroken on learning of it, notwithstanding that 
his own prince had narrowly escaped assassination at the hands 
of the murdered man's grandfather. It was not until the year 
391, however, that the T'ien, or Ch'en, family, after setting up 
and deposing princes at their pleasure for nearly a century, at 
last openly threw off the mask and usurped the Ts'i throne : 
their title was officially recognized by the Son of Heaven in 
the year 378. 

As to Ts'in ambitions, for a couple of centuries past there 
had been no further advance of conquest, at least in China. 
The hitherto almost unheard of state of Shuh (Sz Ch'wan) now 
begins to come prominently forward, and to contest with Ts'in 
mastery of the upper course of the Yang-tsz River. After being 
for 260 years in unchallenged possession of all territory west 
of the Yellow River, Ts'in once more lost this to Tsin {i.e. to 
Ngwei) in 385. It was not until the other state of Wei, lower 
down the Yellow River, lost its individuality as an independent 
country that the celebrated Prince Wei Yang (see Chapter 
XXII.), having no career at home, offered his services to Ts'in, 
and that this latter state, availing itself to the full of his know- 
ledge, suddenly shot forth in the light of real progress. We have 
seen in Chapter XX. that an eminent lawyer and statesman 
of Ngwei, Ts'in's immediate rival on the east, had inaugurated 
a new legal code and an economic land system. This man's 
work had fallen under the cognizance of Wei Yang, who 
carried it with him to Ts'in, where it was immediately utilized 

Ancient China Simplified 131 

to such advantage that Ts'in a century later was enabled to 
organize her resources thoroughly, and thus conquered the 
whole empire. 

We have now arrived at what is usually called the Six 
Kingdom Period, or, if we include Ts'in, against whose 
menacing power the six states were often in alliance, the period 
of the Seven Kingdoms. These were the three equally powerful 
states of Ngwei, Han, and Chao (this last very Tartar in spirit, 
owing to its having absorbed nearly all the Turko-Tartar 
tribes west of the Yellow River mouth) ; the northernmost 
state of Yen, which seems in the same way to have absorbed 
or to have exercised a strong controlling influence over the 
Manchu-Corean group of tribes extending from the Liao River 
to the Chao frontier ; Ts'u, which now had the whole south of 
China entirely to itself, and managed even to amalgamate the 
coast states of Yueh in 334 ; and finally Ts'i. In other words, 
the orthodox Chinese princes, whose comparatively petty prin- 
cipalities in modern Ho Nan province had for several centuries 
formed a sort of cock-pit in which Ts'in, Tsin, Ts'i, and Ts'u 
fought out their rivalries, had totally disappeared as indepen- 
dent and even as influential powers, and had been either 
absorbed by those four great powers (of which Tsin and Ts'i 
were in reconstituted form), or had become mere obedient 
vassals to one or the other of them. In former times Tsin 
had been kinsman and defender ; but now Tsin, broken up 
into three of strange clans, herself afforded an easy prey to Ts'in 
ambition ; the orthodox states were in the defenceless position 
of the Greek states after Alexander had exhausted Macedon 
in his Persian wars, and when their last hope, Pyrrhus, had 
taught the Romans the art of war : they had only escaped 
Persia to fall into the jaws of Rome. 

In the middle of the fourth century B.C. all six powers 
began to style themselves wang, or " king," which, as ex- 
plained before, was the title borne by the Emperors of the Chou 


Ancient China Simplified 

dynasty. Military, political, and literary activities were very 
great after this at the different emulous royal courts, and, how- 
ever much the literary pedants of the day may have bewailed 
the decay of the good old times, there can be no doubt that 
life was now much more varied, more occupied, and more 
interesting than in the sleepy, respectable, patriarchal days of 
old. The " Fighting State " Period, as expounded in the 
Chan-Kwoh Ts l £k> or " Fighting State Records," is the true 
period of Chinese chivalry, or knight-errantry. 



The emperors of the dynasty of Chou, which came formally 
into power in 1122 B.C., we have seen took no other title than 
that of wang> which is usually considered by Europeans to mean 
" king " ; in modern times it is applied to the rulers of (what 
until recently were) tributary states, such as Loochoo, Annam, 
and Corea ; to foreign rulers (unless they insist on a higher 
title) ; and to Manchu and Mongol princes of the blood, and 
mediatized princes. Confucius in his history at first always 
alludes to the Emperor whilst living as fien-wang or " the 
heavenly king" ; it is not until in speaking of the year 583 
that he uses the old term ?ien-tsz, or " Son of Heaven," in 
alluding to the reigning Emperor. After an emperor's death 
he is spoken of by his posthumous name ; as, for instance, 
Wu Wang, the " Warrior King," and so on : these posthumous 
names were only introduced (as a regular system) by the 
Chou dynasty. 

The monarchs of the two dynasties Hia (2205-1767) and 
Shang (1766-1123) which preceded that of Chou, and also the 
somewhat mythical rulers who preceded those two dynasties, 
were called 7Y, a word commonly translated by Western nations 
as " Emperor." For many generations past the Japanese, in 
order better to assert vis-a-vis of China their international 
rank, have accordingly made use of the hybrid expression 
" 7Y-state," by which they seek to convey the European idea 
of an " empire," or a state ruled over by a monarch in some way 
superior to a mere king, which is the highest title China has ever 


134 Ancient China Simplified 

willingly accorded to a foreign prince ; this royal functionary in 
her eyes is, or was, almost synonymous with " tributary prince." 
Curiously enough, this " dog-Chinese " (Japanese) expression 
is now being reimported into Chinese political literature, 
together with many other excruciating combinations, a few 
of European, but mostly of Japanese manufacture, intended 
to represent such Western ideas as " executive and legislative," 
" constitutional," " ministerial responsibility," " party," " political 
view," and so on. But we ourselves must not forget, in deal- 
ing with the particular word "imperial," that the Romans 
first extended the military title of imperator to the permanent 
holder of the "command," simply because the ancient and 
haughty word of " king " was, after the expulsion of the kings, 
viewed with such jealousy by the people of Rome that even 
of Caesar it is said that he did thrice refuse the title. So the 
ancient Chinese 7Y, standing alone, was at first applied both 
to Shang Ti or " God," and to his Vicar on Earth, the Ti 
or Supreme Ruler of the Chinese world. Even Lao-tsz (sixth 
century B.C.), in his revolutionary philosophy, considers the 
" king " or " emperor " as one of the moral forces of nature, 
on a par with " heaven," " earth," and " Tao (or Providence)." 
When we reflect what petty " worlds " the Assyrian, Egyptian, 
and Greek worlds were, we can hardly blame the Chinese, 
who had probably been settled in Ho Nan just as long as the 
Western ruling races had been in Assyria and Egypt respec- 
tively, for imagining that they, the sole recorders of events 
amongst surrounding inferiors, were the world ; and that the 
incoherent tribes rushing aimlessly from all sides to attack 
them, were the unreclaimed fringe of the world. 

It does not appear clearly why the Chou dynasty took the 
new title of wang, which does not seem to occur in any 
titular sense previous to their accession : the Chinese attempts 
to furnish etymological explanation are too crude to be worth 
discussing. No feudal Chinese prince presumed to use it 

Ancient China Simplified 135 

during the Chou regime, and if the semi-barbarous rulers of 
Ts'u, Wu, and Yuen did so in their own dominions (as the 
Hwang Ti, or u august emperor," of Annam was in recent times 
tacitly allowed to do), their federal title in orthodox China never 
went beyond that of viscount. When in the fourth century B.C. 
all the powers styled themselves wang> and were recognized 
as such by the insignificant emperors, the situation was very 
much the same as that produced in Europe when first local 
Caesars, who, to begin with, had been " associates " of the 
Augustus (or two rival Augusti), asserted their independence 
of the feeble central Augustus, and then set themselves up 
as Augusti pure and simple, until at last the only " Roman 
Emperor " left in Rome was the Emperor of Germany. 

It is not explained precisely on what grounds, when the 
first Chou emperors distributed their fiefs, some of the feudal 
rulers, as explained in Chapter VII., were made dukes ; others 
marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons. Of course these trans- 
lated terms are mere makeshifts, simply because the Chinese 
had five ranks, and so have we. In creating their new 
nobility, the Japanese have again made use of the five old 
Chinese titles, except that for some reason they call Duke Ito 
and Duke Yamagata " Prince " in English. The size of the 
fiefs had something to do with it in China ; the pedigree of the 
feoffees probably more ; imperial clandom perhaps most of all. 
The sole state ruled by a duke in his own intrinsic right from 
the first was Sung, a small principality on the northernmost 
head-waters of the River Hwai, corresponding to the modern 
Kwei-teh Fu : probably it was because this duke fulfilled the 
sacrificial and continuity duties of the destroyed dynasty of 
Shang that he received extraordinary rank ; just as, in very 
much later days, the Confucius family was the only non- 
Manchu to possess "ducal" rank, or, as the Japanese seem 
to hold in German style, " princely " rank. But it must be 
remembered that the Chou emperors had imperial dukes 

136 Ancient China Simplified 

within their own appanage, precisely as cardinals, or " princes 
of the Church," are as common around Rome as they are 
scarce among the spiritually "feudal" princes of Europe; 
for feudal they once practically were. 

Confucius' petty state of Lu was founded by the Duke of 
Chou, brother of the founder posthumously called the Wu 
Wang, or the " Warrior King " : for many generations those 
Dukes of Lu seem to have resided at or near the metropolis, 
and to have assisted the Emperors with their advice as coun- 
sellors on the spot, as well as to have visited at intervals and 
ruled their own distant state, which was separated from Sung 
by the River Sz and by the marsh or lakes through which that 
river ran. Yet Lu as a state had only the rank of a mar- 
quisate ruled by a marquess. 

Another close and influential relative of the founder or 
"Warrior King" was the Duke of Shao, who was infeorTed in 
Yen (the Peking plain), and whose descendants, like those of 
the Duke of Chou, seem to have done double duty at the 
metropolis and in their own feudal appanage. Confucius' 
history scarcely records anything of an international kind 
about Yen, which was a petty, feeble region, dovetailed in 
between Tsin and Ts'i, quite isolated, and occupied in civiliz- 
ing some of the various Tartar and Corean barbarians ; but it 
must have gradually increased in wealth and resources like all 
the other Chinese states ; for, as we have seen in the last 
chapter, the Earls of Yen blossomed out into Kings at the 
beginning of the fourth century B.C., and the philosopher 
Mencius, when advising the King of Ts'i, even strongly 
recommended him to make war on the rising Yen power. 

The founder of Ts'i was the chief adviser of the Chou 
founder, but was not of his family name ; his ancestors— also 
the ancestors later on claimed by certain Tartar rulers of 
China— go back to one of the ultra-mythical Emperors of 
China; his descendants bore, under the Chou dynasty, the 

Ancient China Simplified 137 

dignity of marquess, and reigned without a break until, as 
already related, the T'ien or Ch'en family, emanating from the 
orthodox state of Ch'en, usurped the throne. Ts4 was always 
a powerful and highly civilized state ; on one occasion, in 
589 B.C., as mentioned in Chapter VI., its capital was 
desecrated by Tsin ; and on another, a century later, the 
overbearing King of Wu invaded the country. After the 
title of king was taken in 378 B.C., the court of Ts'i became 
quite a fashionable centre, and the gay resort of literary 
men, scientists, and philosophers of all kinds, Taoists 

Tsin, like Ts'i, was of marquess rank, and though its 
ruling family was occasionally largely impregnated with 
Tartar blood by marriage, it was not much more so than the 
imperial family itself had sometimes been. The Chinese 
have never objected to Tartars qua Tartars, except as persons 
who " let their hair fly," " button their coats on the wrong 
side," and do not practise the orthodox rites ; so soon as 
these defects are remedied, they are eligible for citizen- 
ship on equal terms. There has never been any race 
question or colour question in China, perhaps because the skin 
is yellow in whichever direction you turn ; but it is difficult 
to conceive of the African races being clothed with Chinese 

Wei was a small state lying between the Yellow River 
as it now is and the same river as it then was : it was given 
to a brother of the founder of the Chou dynasty, and his 
subjects, like those of the Sung duke, consisted largely of the 
remains of the Shang dynasty ; from which circumstance we 
may conclude that the so-called " dynasties," including that 
of Chou, were simply different ruling clans of one and the 
same people, very much like the different Jewish tribes, of 
which the tribe of Levi was the most " spiritual " : that 
peculiarity may account for the universal unreadiness to cut 

138 Ancient China Simplified 

off sacrifices and destroy tombs, an outrage we only hear of 
between barbarians, as, for instance, when Wu sacked the 
capital of Ts'u. We have seen in Chapter XII. that a 
reigning duke even respected at least some of the sacrificial 
rights of a traitor subject. 

The important state of Cheng, lying to the eastward of the 
imperial reserve, was only founded in the ninth century B.C. 
by one of the then Emperor's sons ; to get across to each 
other, the great states north and south of the orthodox 
nucleus had usually to " beg road " of Cheng, which territory, 
therefore, became a favourite fighting-ground ; the rulers were 
earls. Ts'ao (earls) and Ts'ai (marquesses) were small states 
to the north and south of Cheng, both of the imperial family 
name. The state of Ch'en was ruled by the descendants of 
the Emperor Shun, the monarch who preceded the Hia 
dynasty, and who, as stated before, is supposed to have been 
buried in the (modern) province of Hu Nan, south of the Yang- 
tsz River: they were marquesses. These three last-named 
states were always bones of contention between Tsin and Ts'u, 
on the one hand, and between Ts'i and Ts'u on the other. 
The remaining feudal states are scarcely worth special 
mention as active participators in the story of how China 
fought her way from feudalism to centralization ; most of 
their rulers were viscounts or barons in status, and seem 
to have owed, or at least been obliged to pay, more 
duty to the nearest great feudatory than direct to the 

No matter what the rank of the ruler, so soon as he had 
been supplied with a posthumous name (expressing, in guarded 
style, his personal character) he was known to history as 
" the Duke So-and-So." Even one of the Kings of Ts'u, is 
courteously called "the Duke Chwang" after his death, because 
as a federal prince he had done honour to the courtesy title 
of viscount. Princes or rulers not enjoying any of the five 

Ancient China Simplified 139 

ranks were, if orthodox sovereign princes over never so small 
a tract, still called posthumously, " the Duke X." 

Hence Western writers, in describing Confucius' master 
and the rulers of other feudal states, often speak of "the 
Duke of Lu," or " of Tsin " ; but this is only an accurate form 
of speech when taken subject to the above reserves. 



The relations which existed between Emperor and feudal 
princes are best seen and understood from specific cases 
involving mutual relations. The Chou dynasty had about 
1800 nominal vassals in all, of whom 400 were already 
waiting at the ford of the Yellow River for the rendezvous 
appointed by the conquering " Warrior King " ; thus the 
great majority must already have existed as such before 
the Chou family took power ; in other words, they were 
the vassals of the Shang dynasty, and perhaps, of the distant 
Hia dynasty too. The new Emperor enfeoffed fifteen 
11 brother " states, and forty more having the same clan-name 
as himself: these fifty-five were presumably all new states, 
enjoying mesne-lord or semi-suzerain privileges over the 
host of insignificant principalities ; and it might as well be 
mentioned here that this imperial clan name of Ki was 
that of all the ultra-ancient emperors, from 2700 B.C. down 
to the beginning of the Hia dynasty in 2205 BC - Fiefs 
were conferred by the Chou conqueror upon all deserving 
ministers and advisers as well as upon kinsmen. The more 
distant princes they enfeoffed possessed, in addition to their 
distant satrapies, a village in the neighbourhood of the 
imperial court, where they resided, as at an hotel or town 
house, during court functions ; more especially in the spring, 
when, if the world was at peace, they were supposed to pay 
their formal respects to the Emperor. The tribute brought 
by the different feudal states was, perhaps euphemistically, 


Ancient China Simplified 141 

associated with offerings due to the gods, apparently on 
the same ground that the Emperor was vaguely associated 
with God. The Protectors, when the Emperors degenerated, 
made a great show always of chastising or threatening the 
other vassals on account of their neglect to honour the 
Emperor. Thus in 656 the First Protector (Ts'i) made war 
upon Ts'u for not sending the usual tribute of sedge to the 
Emperor, for use in clarifying the sacrificial wine. Previously, 
in 663, after assisting the state of Yen against the Tartars, 
Ts'i had requested Yen "to go on paying tribute, as was 
done during the reigns of the two first Chou Emperors, and 
to continue the wise government of the Duke of Shao." In 
581, when Wu's pretensions were rising in a menacing degree, 
the King of Wu said : " The Emperor complains to me that 
not a single Ki (i.e. not a single closely-related state) will 
come to his assistance or send him tribute, and thus his 
Majesty has nothing to offer to the Emperor Above, or to 
the Ghosts and Spirits." 

Land thus received in vassalage from the Emperor could 
not, or ought not to, be alienated without imperial sanction. 
Thus in 711 B.C. two states (both of the Ki surname, and 
thus both such as ought to have known better) effected an 
exchange of territory ; one giving away his accommodation 
village, or hotel, at the capital ; and the other giving in 
exchange a place where the Emperor used to stop on his way 
to Ts'i when he visited Mount T'ai-shan, then, as now, the 
sacred resort of pilgrims in Shan Tung. Even the Emperor 
could not give away a fief in joke. This, indeed, was how 
the second Chou Emperor conferred the (extinct or forfeited) 
fief of Tsin upon a relative. But just as 

Une reine d? Espagne ne regarde pas par lafenitre> 

so an Emperor of China cannot jest in vain. An attentive 
scribe standing by said : " When the Son of Heaven speaks, 

142 Ancient China Simplified 

the clerk takes down his words in writing ; they are sung to 
music, and the rites are fulfilled." When, in 665 B.C., Ts'i had 
driven back the Tartars on behalf of Yen, the Prince of Yen 
accompanied the Prince of Ts'i back into Ts'i territory. The 
Prince of Ts'i at once ceded to Yen the territory trodden by 
the Prince of Yen, on the ground that "only the Emperor 
can, when accompanying a ruling prince, advance beyond the 
limits of his own domain." This rule probably refers only to 
war, for feudal princes frequently visited each other. The rule 
was that " the Emperor can never go out," i.e. he can never 
leave or quit any part of China, for all China belongs to him. 
It is like our " the King can do no wrong." 

The Emperor could thus neither leave nor enter his own 
particular territory, as all his vassals' territory is equally his. 
Hence his "mere motion" or pleasure makes an Empress, 
who needs no formal reception into his separate appanage by 
him. If the Emperor gives a daughter or a sister in marriage, 
he deputes a ruling prince of the Ki surname to " manage " 
the affair ; hence to this day the only name for an imperial 
princess is " a publicly managed one." A feudal prince must go 
and welcome his wife, but the Emperor simply deputes one of 
his appanage dukes to do it for him. In the same way, these 
dukes are sent on mission to convey the Emperor's pleasure 
to vassals. Thus, in 651 B.C., a duke was sent by the 
Emperor to assist Ts'in and Ts'i in setting one of the four 
Tartar-begotten brethren on the Tsin throne (see Chapter X.). 
In 649 two dukes (one being the hereditary Duke of Shao, 
supposed to be descended from the same ancestor as the Earl 
reigning in the distant state of Yen) were sent to confer the 
formal patent and sceptre of investiture on Tsin. The rule 
was that imperial envoys passing through the vassal territory 
should be welcomed on the frontier, fed, and housed ; but in 
716 the fact that Wei attacked an imperial envoy on his way 
to Lu proves how low the imperial power had already sunk. 

Ancient China Simplified 143 

The greater powers undoubtedly had, nearly all of them, 
clusters of vassals and clients, and it is presumed that the 
total of 1800, belonging, at least nominally, to the Emperor, 
covered all these indirect vassals. Possibly, before the dawn 
of truly historical times, they all went in person to the 
imperial court ; but after the debdcle of 771 B.C., the Emperor 
seems to have been left severely alone by all the vassals who 
dared do so. So early as 704 B.C. a reunion of princelets 
vassal to Ts'u is mentioned ; and in the year 622 Ts'u annexed 
a region styled " the six states," admittedly descended from 
the most ancient ministerial stock, because they had presumed 
to ally themselves with the eastern barbarians ; this was 
when Ts'u was working her way eastwards, down from the 
southernmost headwaters of the Hwai River, in the extreme 
south of Ho Nan. It was in 684 that Ts'u first began to 
annex the petty orthodox states in (modern) Hu Peh province, 
and very soon nearly all those lying between the River Han 
and the River Yang-tsz were swallowed up by the semi- 
barbarian power. Ts'u's relation to China was very much like 
that of Macedon to Greece. Both of the latter were more or 
less equally descended from the ancient and somewhat nebulous 
Pelasgi ; but Macedon, though imbued with a portion of 
Greek civilization, was more rude and warlike, with a strong 
barbarian strain in addition. Ts'u was never in any way 
"subject" to the Chou dynasty, except in so far as it may 
have suited her to be so for some interested purpose of her own. 
In the year 595 Ts'u even treated Sung and Cheng (two 
federal states of the highest possible orthodox imperial rank) 
as her own vassals, by marching armies through without 
asking their permission. As an illustration of what was the 
correct course to follow may be taken the case of Tsin in 632, 
when a Tsin army was marching on a punitory expedition 
against the imperial clan state of Ts ( ao ; the most direct way 
ran through Wei, but this latter state declined to allow the 

144 Ancient China Simplified 

Tsin army to pass ; it was therefore obliged to cross the 
Yellow River at a point south of Wei-hwei Fu (as marked on 
modern maps), near the capital of Wei, past which the Yellow 
River then ran. 

Lu, though itself a small state, had, in 697, and again in 
615, quite a large number of vassals of its own ; several are 
plainly styled " subordinate countries," with viscounts and 
even earls to rule them. Some of these sub-vassals to the 
feudal states seem from the first never to have had the right 
of direct communication with the Emperor at all ; in such 
cases they were called fu-yung> or "adjunct-functions," like 
the client colonies attached to the colonial municipia of the 
Romans. A fu-yung was only about fifteen English miles in 
extent (according to Mencius) ; and from 850 B.C. to 771 B.C. 
even the great future state of Ts'in had only been %.fu-yung y 
— it is not said to what mesne lord. Sung is distinctly stated 
to have had a number of these fu-yung. Ch'en is also credited 
with suzerainty over at least two sub- vassal states. In 661 
Tsin annexed a number of orthodox petty states, evidently 
with the view of ultimately seizing that part of the Emperor's 
appanage which lay north of the Yellow River (west Ho 
Nan) ; it was afterwards obtained by " voluntary cession." 
The word "viscount," besides being applied complimentarily 
to barbarian " kings " when they showed themselves in China, 
had another special use. When an orthodox successor was in 
mourning, he was not entitled forthwith to use the hereditary 
rank allotted to his state ; thus, until the funeral obsequies of 
their predecessors were over, the new rulers of Ch'en and 
Ts ( ai were called " the viscount," or " son " (same word). 

The Emperor used to call himself " I, the one Man," 
like the Spanish "Yo, el Rey." Feudal princes styled 
themselves to each other, or to the ministers of each other, 
" The Scanty Man." Ministers, speaking (to foreign ministers 
or princes) of their own prince said, " The Scanty Prince " ; of 

Ancient China Simplified 145 

the prince's wife, " The Scanty Lesser Prince " ; of their own 
ministers, " The Scanty Minister." It was polite to avoid 
the second person in addressing a foreign prince, who was 
consequently often styled " your government " by foreign 
envoys particularly anxious not to offend. The diplomatic 
forms were all obsequiously polite ; but the stock phrases, such 
as, " our vile village " (our country), " your condescending to 
instruct " (your words), " I dare not obey your commands " 
(we will not do what you ask), probably involved nothing 
more in the way of humility than the terms of our own 
gingerly worded diplomatic notes, each term of which may, 
nevertheless, offend if it be coarsely or carelessly expressed. 

In some cases a petty vassal was neither a sub-kingdom 
nor an adjunct-function to another greater vassal, but was 
simply a political hanger-on ; like, for instance, Hawaii was to 
the United States, or Cuba now is ; or like Monaco is to 
France, Nepaul to India. Thus Lu, through assiduously 
cultivating the good graces of Ts'i, became in 591 a sort of 
henchman to Ts'i ; and, as we have seen, at the Peace Con- 
ference of 546, the henchmen of the two rival Protectors 
agreed to pay " cross respects " to each other's Protector. 

It seems to have been the rule that the offerings of feudal 
states to the Emperor should be voluntary, at least in form : 
for instance, in the year 697, the Emperor or his agents 
begged a gift of chariots from Lu, and in 618 again applied 
for some supplies of gold ; both these cases are censured by 
the historians as being undignified. On the other hand, the 
Emperor's complimentary presents to the vassals were highly 
valued. Thus in the year 530, when Ts'u began to realize its 
own capacity for empire, a claim was put in for the Nine 
Tripods, and for a share of the same honorific gifts that were 
bestowed by the founders upon Ts'i, Tsin, Lu, and Wei at the 
beginning of the Chou dynasty. In the year 606 Ts'u had 
already "inquired" at the imperial court about these same 


146 Ancient China Simplified 

Tripods, and 300 years later (281 B.C.), when struggling with 
Ts'in for the mastery of China, Ts'u endeavoured to get the 
state of Han to support her demand for the Tripods, which 
eventually fell to Ts'in ; it will be remembered that the Duke 
of Chou had taken them to the branch capital laid out 
by him, but which was not really occupied by the* Emperor 
until 771 B.C. 

In 632, after the great Tsin victory over Ts'u, the Emperor 
" accepted some Ts'u prisoners," conferred upon Tsin the Pro- 
tectorate, ceded to Tsin that part of the imperial territory re- 
ferred to on page 53, and presented to the Tsin ruler a chariot, 
a red bow with 1000 arrows, a black bow with 1000 arrows, 
a jar of scented wine, a jade cup with handle, and 300 "tiger" 
body-guards. In 679, when Old Tsin had been amalgamated 
by New Tsin (both of them then tiny principalities), the 
Emperor had already accepted valuable loot from the capture 
of Old Tsin. In a word, the Emperor nearly always sided 
with the strongest, accepted /aits accomplis, and took what he 
could get. This has also been China's usual policy in later 


The period of political development covered by Confucius' 
history— the object of which history, it must be remembered, 
was to read to the restless age a series of solemn warnings- 
was immediately succeeded by the most active and blood- 
thirsty period in the Chinese annals, that of the Fighting 
States, or the Six Countries; sometimes they (including 
Ts'in) were called the " Seven Males," i.e. the Seven Great 
Masculine Powers. Tsin had been already practically divided 
up between the three surviving great families of the original 
eleven in 424 B.C. ; but these three families of Ngwei, Han, and 
Chao were not recognized by the Emperor until 403 ; nor did 
they extinguish the legitimate ruler until 376, about three 
years after the sacrifices of the legitimate Ts'i kings were 
stopped. Accordingly we hear the original name Tsin, or 
" the three Tsin," still used concurrently with the names Han, 
Ngwei, and Chao, as that of Ts'u's chief enemy in the north 
for some time after the division into three had taken place. 

Tsin's great rival to the west, Ts'in, now found occupation 
in extending her territory to the south-west at the expense of 
Shuh, a vast dominion corresponding to the modern Sz Ch'wan, 
up to then almost unheard of by orthodox China, but which, it 
then first transpired, had had three kings and ten " emperors " 
of its own, nine of these latter bearing the same appellation. 
Even now, the rapids and gorges of the Yang-tsz River form 
the only great commercial avenue from China into Sz Ch'wan, 
and it is therefore not hard to understand how in ancient 


148 Ancient China Simplified 

times, the tribes of " cave barbarians " (whose dwellings are 
still observable all over that huge province) effectively blocked 
traffic along such subsidiary mountain-roads as may have 
existed then, as they exist now, for the use of enterprising 

The Chinese historians have no statistics, indulge in few 
remarks about economic or popular development, describe 
no popular life, and make no general reflections upon history ; 
they confine themselves to narrating the bald and usually 
unconnected facts which took place on fixed dates, occasionally 
describing some particularly heroic or daring individual act, or 
even sketching the personal appearance and striking conduct 
of an exceptionally remarkable king, general, or other leading 
personality : hence there is little to guide us to an intelligent 
survey of causes and effects, of motives and consequences ; it 
is only by carefully piecing together and collating a jumble 
of isolated events that it is possible to obtain any general 
coup d'aeil at all : the wood is often invisible on account of 
the trees. 

But there can be no doubt that populations had been 
rapidly increasing ; that improved means had been found to 
convey accumulated stores and equipments ; that generals had 
learnt how to hurl bodies of troops rapidly from one point to 
the other ; and that rulers knew the way either to interest 
large populations in war, or to force them to take an active 
part in it. The marches, durbars, and gigantic canal works, 
undertaken by the barbarous King of Wu, as described in 
Chapter XXL, prove this in the case of one country. Chinese 
states always became great in the same way : first Kwan-tsz 
developed, on behalf of his master the First Protector, the 
commerce, the army, and the agriculture of Ts'i. He was 
imitated at the same time by Duke Muh of Ts'in and King 
Chwang of Ts'u, both of which rulers (seventh century B.C.) 
set to work vigorously in developing their resources. Then 

Ancient China Simplified 149 

Tsz-ch'an raised Ch£ng to a great pitch of diplomatic influence, 
if not also of military power. His friend Shuh Hiang did the 
same thing for Tsin ; and both of them were models for Con- 
fucius in Lu, who had, moreover, to defend his own master's 
interests against the policy of the philosopher Yen-tsz of Ts'i. 
After his first defeat by the King of Wu, the barbarian King 
of Yiieh devoted himself for some years to the most strenuous 
life, with the ultimate object of amassing resources for the 
annihilation of Wu ; the interesting steps he took to increase 
the population will be described at length in a later chapter. 
In 361, as we have explained in Chapter XXII., a scion of Wei 
went as adviser to Ts'in, and within a generation of his arrival 
the whole face of affairs was changed in that western state 
hitherto so isolated ; the new position, from a military point of 
view, was almost exactly that of Prussia during the period 
between the tyranny of the first Napoleon, together with the 
humiliation experienced at his hands, and the patient gathering 
of force for the final explosion of 1870, involving the crushing 
of the second (reigning) Napoleon. 

Very often the term " perpendicular and horizontal " period 
is applied to the fourth century B.C. That is, Ts'u's object was 
to weld together a chain of north and south alliances, so as to 
bring the power of Ts'i and Tsin to bear together with her own 
upon Ts'in ; and Ts'in's great object was, on the other hand, 
to make a similar string of east and west alliances, so as to 
bring the same two powers to bear upon Ts'u. The object 
of both Ts'in and Ts'u was to dictate terms to each unit of, 
and ultimately to possess, the whole Empire, merely utilizing the 
other powers as cat'spaws to hook the chestnuts out of the 
furnace. No other state had any rival pretensions, for, by 
this time, Ts'in and Ts'u each really did possess one-third part 
of China as we now understand it, whilst the other third was 
divided between Ts'i and the three Tsin. In 343 B.C. the 
Chou Emperor declared Ts'in Protector, and from 292 to 

150 Ancient China Simplified 

288 B.C., Tsin and Ts'i took for a few years the ancient title 
of Ti or " Emperor " of the West and East respectively : in 
the year 240 the Chou Emperor even proceeded to Ts'in to 
do homage there. Tsin might have been in the running for 
universal empire had she held together instead of dividing 
herself into three. Yen was altogether too far away north, — 
though, curiously enough, Yen (Peking) has been the political 
centre of North China for 900 years past, — and Ts'i was too far 
away east. Moreover, Ts'i was discredited for having cut off 
the sacrifices of the legitimate house. Ts'u was now master 
of not only her old vassals, Wu and Yueh, but also of most of 
the totally unknown territory down to the south sea, of which 
no one except the Ts'u people at that time knew so much as 
the bare local names ; it bore the same relation to Ts'u that 
the Scandinavian tribes did to the Romanized Germans. Ts'in 
had become not only owner of Sz Ch'wan — at first as suzerain 
protector, not as direct administrator — but had extended her 
power down to the south-west towards Yun Nan and Tibet, 
and also far away to the north-west in Tartarland, but not 
farther than to where the Great Wall now extends. It is in 
the year 318 B.C. that we first hear the name Hiung-nu 
(ancestors of the Huns and Turks), a body of whom allied 
themselves in that year with the five other Chinese powers 
then in arms against the menacing attitude of Ts'in ; some- 
thing remarkable must have taken place in Tartarland to 
account for this sudden change of name. The only remains of 
old federal China consisted of about ten petty states such as 
Sung, Lu, etc., all situated between the Rivers Sz and Hwai, 
and all waiting, hands folded, to be swallowed up at leisure by 
this or that universal conqueror. 

Ts'in s'en va t en guerre seriously in the year 364, and 
began her slashing career by cutting off 60,000 " Tsin " heads ; 
(the legitimate Tsin sacrifices had been cut off in 376, so this 
" Tsin " must mean " Ngwei," or that part of old Tsin which 

. Ancient China Simplified 151 

was coterminous with Ts'in) ; in 331, in a battle with Ngwei, 
80,000 more heads were taken off. In 318 the Hiung-nu com- 
bination just mentioned lost 82,000 heads between them ; in 
314 Han lost 10,000; in 312 Ts'u lost 80,000; in 307 Han 
lost 60,000 ; and in 304 Ts'u lost 20,000. In the year 293 the 
celebrated Ts'in general, Peh K'i, who has left behind him a 
reputation as one of the greatest manipulators of vast armies 
in Eastern history, cut off 240,000 Hani heads in one single 
battle ; in 275, 40,000 Ngwei heads ; and in 264, 50,000 Han 
heads. M Enfin je vais me mesurer avec ce Vilainton" said 
the King of Chao, when his two western friends of Han and 
Ngwei had been hammered out of existence. In the year 260 
the Chao forces came to terrible grief; General Peh K'i 
managed completely to surround their army of 400,000 men ; 
he accepted their surrender, guaranteed their safety, and then 
proceeded methodically to massacre the whole of them to a 
man. In 257 u Tsin" (presumably Han or Ngwei) lost 6,000 
killed and 20,000 drowned ; in 256 Han lost 40,000 heads, 
and in 247 her last 30,000, whilst also in 256 Chao her last 
90,000. These terrible details have been put together from the 
isolated statements ; but there can be no mistake about them, 
for the historian Sz-ma Ts'ien, writing in 100 B.C., says : " The 
allies with territory ten times the extent of the Ts'in 
dominions dashed a million men against her in vain ; she 
always had her reserves in hand ready, and from first to last 
a million corpses bit the dust." 

No such battles as these are even hinted at in more ancient 
times ; nor, strange to say, are the ancient chariots now 
mentioned any more. Ts'in had evidently been practising 
herself in fighting with the Turks and Tartars for some 
generations, and had begun to perceive what was still only 
half understood in China, — the advantage of manoeuvring 
large bodies of horsemen ; but, curiously enough, nothing is 
said of horses either ; yet all these battles seem to have been 

152 Ancient China Simplified 

fought on the flat lands of old federal China, suitable for 
either chariots or horses. The first specific mention of cavalry 
manoeuvres on a large scale was in the year 198 B.C. when the 
new Han Emperor of China in person, with a straggling army 
of 320,000 men, mostly infantry, was surrounded by four 
bodies of horsemen led by the Supreme Khan, in white, grey, 
black, and chestnut divisions, numbering 300,000 cavalry in 
all : his name was Megh-dun (? the Turkish Baghatur). 

Whilst all this was going on, Mencius, the Confucian 
philosopher, and the two celebrated diplomatists (of Taoist 
principles), Su Ts'in and Chang I, were flying to and fro all 
over orthodox China with a view of offering sage political 
advice ; this was the time par excellence when the rival Taoist 
and Confucian prophets were howling in the wilderness of war 
and greed : but Ts'in cared not much for talkers : generals 
did her practical business better : in 308 she began to cast 
covetous eyes on the Emperor's poor remaining appanage. In 
301 she was called upon to quell a revolt in Shuh ; then she 
materially reduced the pretensions of her great rival Ts'u ; 
and finally rested a while, whilst gathering more strength for 
the supreme effort — the conquest of China. 


The history of China may be for our present purposes 
accordingly summed up as follows. The pure Chinese race 
from time immemorial had been confined to the flat lands 
of the Yellow River, and its one tributary on the south, the 
River Loh, the Tartars possessing most of the left bank from 
the Desert to the sea. However, from the beginning of really 
historical times the Chinese had been in unmistakable part- 
possession of the valleys of the Yellow River's two great 
tributaries towards the west and north, the Wei (in Shen Si) 
and the Fen (in Shan Si). Little, if any, Chinese colonizing 
was done much before the Ts'in conquests in any other parts 
of Tartarland ; none in Sz Ch'wan that we know of ; little, 
if any, along the coasts, except perhaps from Ts'i and Lu 
(in Shan Tung), both of which states seem to have always 
been open to the sea, though many barbarian coast tribes still 
required gathering into the Chinese fold. The advance of 
Chinese civilization had been first down the Yellow River ; 
then down the River Han towards the Middle Yang-tsz ; and 
lastly, down the canals and the Hwai network of streams to 
the Shanghai coast. Old colonies of Chinese had, many 
centuries before the conquest of China by the Chou dynasty, 
evidently set out to subdue or to conciliate the southern 
tribes : these adventurous leaders had naturally taken Chinese 
ideas with them, but had usually found it easier for their own 
safety and success to adopt barbarian customs in whole or in 
part. These mixed or semi-Chinese states of the navigable 


154 Ancient China Simplified 

Yang-tsz Valley, from the Ich'ang gorges to the sea, had 
generally developed in isolation and obscurity, and only 
appeared in force as formidable competitors with orthodox 
Chinese when the imperial power began to collapse after 
771 B.C. The isolation of half- Roman Britain for several 
centuries after the first Roman conquest, and the departure 
of the last Roman legions, may be fitly compared with the 
position of the half-Chinese states. Ts'u, Wu, and Yueh all 
had pedigrees, more or less genuine, vying in antiquity with 
the pedigree of the imperial Chou family ; and therefore they 
did not see why they also should not aspire to the over- 
lordship when it appeared to be going a-begging. Even 
orthodox Tsin and Ts'i in the north and north-east were in 
a sense colonial extensions, inasmuch as they were governed 
by new families appointed thereto by the Chou dynasty in 
1 122 B.C., in place of the old races of rulers, presumably more 
or less barbarian, who had previously to 1122 B.C. been vassal 
— in name at least — to the earlier imperial Hia and Shang 
dynasties : but these two great states were never considered 
barbarian under Chou sway ; and, indeed, some of the most 
ancient mythological Chinese emperors anterior to the Hia 
dynasty had their capitals in Tsin and Lu, on the River Fen 
and the River Sz. 

It is not easy to define the exact amount of " foreignness " 
in Ts'u. One unmistakable non- Chinese expression is given ; 
that is kou-u-du, or " suckled by a tigress." Then, again, the 
syllable ngao occurs phonetically in many titles and in native 
personal names, such as jo-ngao, tu-ngao, kia-ngao> mo-jigao. 
There are no Ts'u songs in the Odes as edited by Confucius, 
and the Ts'u music is historically spoken of as being " in the 
southern sound " ; which may refer, it is true, to the accent, 
but also possibly to a strange language. The Ts'u name for 
" Annals," or history, was quite different from the terms used 
in Tsin and Lu, respectively ; and the Ts'u word for a peculiar 

Ancient China Simplified 155 

form of lameness, or locomotor ataxy, is said to differ from 
the expressions used in either Wei and Ts'i. So far as 
possible, all Ts'u dignities were kept in the royal family, and 
the king's uncle was usually premier. The premier of Ts'u 
was called ling-yin> a term unknown to federal China ; and 
Ts'u considered the left-hand side more honourable than the 
right, which at that time was not the case in China proper, 
though it is now. The " Borough-English " rule of succession 
in Ts'u was to give it to one of the younger sons ; this state- 
ment is repeated in positive terms by Shuh Hiang, the 
luminous statesman of Tsin, and will be further illustrated 
when we come to treat of that subject specially. The Lu 
rule was " son after father ; or, if none, then younger after 
eldest brother ; if the legitimate heir dies, then next son by 
the same mother ; failing which, the eldest son by any 
mother ; if equal claims, then the wisest ; if equally wise, cast 
lots " : Lu rules would probably hold good for all federal 
China, because the Duke of Chou, founder of Lu, was the 
chief moral force in the original Chou administration. In the 
year 587 Lu, when coquetting between Tsin and Ts'u, was 
at last persuaded not to abandon Tsin for Ts'u, " who is not 
of our family, and can never have any real affection." Once 
in Tsin it was asked, about a prisoner : " Who is that southern- 
hatted fellow ? " It was explained that he was a Ts'u man. 
They then handed him a guitar, and made him sing some 
" national songs." In 597 a Ts'u envoy to the Tsin military 
durbar said : " My prince is not formed for the fine and delicate 
manners of the Chinese " : here is distinct evidence of social 
if not ethnological cleaving. The Ts'u men had beards, whilst 
those of Wu were not hirsute : this statement proves that the 
two barbarian populations differed between themselves. In 
635 the King of Ts'u spoke of himself as "the unvirtuous" 
and the " royal old man " — designations both appropriate only 
to barbarians under Chinese ritual. In 880 B.C., when the 

156 Ancient China Simplified 

imperial power was already waning, and the first really 
historical King of Ts'u was beginning to bring under his 
authority the people between the Han and the Yang-tsz, he 
said : " I am a barbarian savage, and do not concern myself 
with Chinese titles, living or posthumous." In 706, when the 
reigning king made his first conquest of a petty Chinese 
principality (North Hu Peh), he said again : " I am a barbarian 
savage ; all the vassals are in rebellion and attacking each 
other ; I want with my poor armaments to see for myself how 
Chou governs, and to get a higher title." On being refused, he 
said : " Do you forget my ancestor's services to the father of the 
Chou founder ? " Later on, as has already been mentioned, he 
put in a claim for the Nine Tripods because of the services his 
ancestor, " living in rags in the Jungle, exposed to the weather," 
had rendered to the founder himself. In 637, when the future 
Second Protector and ruler of Tsin visited Ts'u as a wanderer, 
the King of Ts'u received him with all the hospitalities " under 
the Chou rites," which fact shows at least an effort to adopt 
Chinese civilization. In 634 Lu asked Ts'u's aid against 
Ts'i, a proceeding condemned by the historical critics on the 
ground that Ts'u was a " barbarian savage " state. On the 
other hand, by the year 560 the dying King of Ts'u was 
eulogized as a man who had successfully subdued the barbarian 
savages. But against this, again, in 544 the ruler of Lu 
expressed his content at having got safely back from his 
visit to Ts'u, i.e. his visit to such an uncouth and distant court. 
Thus Ts'u's emancipation from " savagery " was gradual and 
of uncertain date. In 489 the King of Ts'u declined to 
sacrifice to the Yellow River, on the ground that his ancestors 
had never presumed to concern themselves with anything 
beyond the Han and Yang-tsz valleys. Even Confucius 
(then on his wanderings in the petty state of Ch'£n) declared 
his admiration at this, and said : " The King of Ts'u is a sage, 
and understands the Great Way {too)" On the other hand, 

Ancient China Simplified 157 

only fifty years before this, when in 538 Ts'u, with Tsin's 
approval, first tried her hand at durbar work, the king was 
horrified to hear from a fussy chamberlain (evidently orthodox) 
that there were six different ways of receiving visitors accord- 
ing to their rank ; so that Ts'u's ritual decorum could not have 
been of very long standing. The following year (537) a Tsin 
princess is given in marriage to Ts'u — a decidedly orthodox 
feather in Ts'u's cap. Confucius affects a particular style in 
his history when he speaks of barbarians ; thus an orthodox 
prince " beats " a barbarian, but " battles " with an orthodox 
equal. However, in 525, Ts'u and Wu "battle " together, the 
commentator explaining that Ts'u is now " promoted " to 
battle rank, though the strict rule is that two barbarians, 
or China and one barbarian, "beat" rather than "battle." 
In 591 Confucius had already announced the "end" of the 
King of Ts'u, not as such, but as federal viscount. Under 
ordinary circumstances "death" would have been good 
enough: it is only in speaking of his own ruler's death that 
the honorific word " collapse " is used. All these fine dis- 
tinctions, and many others like them, hold good for modern 
Chinese. These (apparently to us) childish gradations in 
mere wording run throughout Confucius' book ; but we must 
remember that his necessarily timid object was to " talk at " 
the wicked, and to "hint" at retribution. Even a German 
recorder of events would shrink from applying the word 
haben to the royal act of a Hottentot King, for whom hat 
is more than good enough, without the allergnadigst. And 
we all remember Bismarck's story of the way mouth-washes 
and finger-bowls were treated at Frankfurt by those above 
and below the grade of serene highness. Toutes les vices et 
toutes les mceurs sont respectables. 

In 531 the barbarian King of Ts'u is honoured by being 
" named " for enticing and murdering a " ruler of the central 
kingdoms." The pedants are much exercised over this, but 

158 Ancient China Simplified 

as the federal prince in question was a parricide, he had a 
lupinum caput, and so even a savage could without outraging 
orthodox feelings wreak the law on him. On the other hand, 
in 526, when Ts'u enticed and killed a mere barbarian prince, 
the honour of "naming" was withheld. This delicate question 
will be further elucidated in the chapter on " Names." 

It will be observed that none of the testimony brought 
forward here to show that Ts'u was, in some undefined way, a 
non- Chinese state is either clear or conclusive : its cumulative 
effect, however, certainly leaves a very distinct impression that 
there was a profound difference of some sort both in race and 
in manners, though we are as yet quite unable to say whether 
the bulk of the Ts'u population was Annamese, Shan, or 
Siamese ; Lolo or Nosu ; Miao-tsz, Tibetan, or what. There 
is really no use in attempting to advance one step beyond the 
point to which we are carried by specific evidence, either in 
this or in other matters. It has been said that no great 
discovery was ever made without imagination, which may be 
true ; but evidence and imagination must be kept rigidly 
separate. What we may reasonably hope is that, by gradually 
ascertaining and sifting definite facts and data touching 
ancient Chinese history, we shall at least avoid coming to 
wrong positive conclusions, even if the right negative ones 
are pretty clearly indicated. It is better to leave unexplained 
matters in suspense than to base conclusions upon speculative 
substructures which will not carry the weight set upon them. 



The country of Wu is in many respects even more interest- 
ing ethnologically than that of Ts'u. When, a generation or 
two before the then vassal Chou family conquered China, two 
of the sons of the ruler of that vassal principality decided to 
forego their rights of succession, they settled amongst the 
Jungle savages, cut their hair, adopted the local raiment, and 
tattooed their bodies ; or, rather, it is said the elder of the two 
covered his head and his body decently, while the younger 
cut his hair, went naked, and tattooed his body. The words 
M Jungle savages " apply to the country later called Ts'u ; but 
as Wu, when we first hear of her, was a subordinate country 
belonging to Ts'u ; and as in any case the word " Wu " was 
unknown to orthodox China, not to say to extreme western 
China, in 1200 B.C. when the adventurous brothers migrated ; 
this particular point need not trouble us so much as it seems 
to have puzzled the Chinese critics. About 575 the first really 
historical King of Wu paid visits to the Emperor's court, to 
the court of his suzerain the King of Ts'u, and to the court of 
Lu : probably the Hwai system of rivers would carry him 
within measurable distance of all three, for the headwaters 
almost touch the tributaries of the Han, and the then Ts'u 
capital (modern King-chou Fu) was in touch with the River 
Han. He observed when in Lu : " W T e only know how to 
knot our hair in Wu ; what could we do with such fine clothes 
as you wear ? " It was the policy of Tsin and of the other 
minor federal princes to make use of Wu as a diversion against 


160 Ancient China Simplified 

the advance of Ts'u : it is evident that by this time Ts'u had 
begun to count seriously as a Chinese federal state, for one of 
the powerful private families behind the throne and against 
the throne in Lu expressed horror that "southern savages 
(i.e. Wu) should invade China (i.e. Ts'u)," by taking from it 
part of modern An Hwei province : as, however, barbarian Ts'u 
had taken it first from orthodox China, perhaps the mesne 
element of Ts'u was not in the statesman's mind at all, but 
only the original element, — China. An important remark is 
made by one of the old historians to the effect that the 
language and manners of Wu were the same as those of Yiieh. 
In 483, when Wu's pretensions as Protector were at their 
greatest, the people of Ts'i made use of ropes eight feet long 
in order to bind certain Wu prisoners they had taken, 
" because their heads were cropped so close " : this statement 
hardly agrees with that concerning " knotted hair," unless the 
toupet or chignon was very short indeed. There are not many 
native Wu words quoted, beyond the bare name of the country 
itself, which is something like Keu-gu> or Kou-gu: an 
executioner's knife is mentioned under the foreign name 
chuh-lii, presented to persons expected to commit suicide, 
after the Japanese harakiri fashion. In 584 B.C., when the 
first steps were taken by orthodox China to utilize Wu 
politically, it was found necessary, as we have seen, to teach 
the Wu folk the use of war-chariots and bows and arrows : 
this important statement points distinctly to the previous utter 
isolation of Wu from the pale of Chinese civilization. In 
the year 502 Ts'i sent a princess as hostage to Wu, and ended 
by giving her in marriage to the Wu heir: (we have seen 
how Tsin anticipated Ts'i by twenty-five years in conferring 
a similar honour upon Ts'u). A century or more later, when 
Mencius was advising the bellicose court of Ts'i, he alluded 
with indignation to this "barbarous" act. In 544 the Wu 
prince Ki-chah had visited Lu and other orthodox states. 

1. The two lines indicated by to the north are (r) the River 

Sz (now Grand Canal), from Confucius' birthplace, and (2) the River I 
(from modern I-shui city south of the German colony). After receiving 
the I, the Sz entered the Hwai as it emerged from Lake Hung-tseh ; but 
this Hwai mouth no longer exists ; the waters are dissipated in canals. 

The Wu fleets coasting up to the Hwai, were thus able to creep into the 
heart of Shan Tung province, east and west. 

2. The Yang-tsz had three branches: (1) northern, much as now; (2) 
middle, branching at modern Wuhu, crossing the T'ai-hu Lake, and following 
the Soochow Creek and Wusung River past Shanghai ; (3) southern, carry- 
ing part of the Tai-hu waters by a forgotten route (probably the modern 
Grand Canal), to near Hangchow. 

3. The three crosses (g) mark the capitals of Wu (respectively near Wu-sih 
and Soochow) and Yiieh (near Shao-hing). The modern canal from Hang- 
chow to Shan Tung is clearly indicated. Orthodox China knew absolutely 
nothing of Chch Kiang, Fuh Kicn, or Kiang Si provinces south of lat. 30 , 

Ancient China Simplified 161 

In recognition of this civilized move on the part of an ancient 
family, Confucius in his history grants the rank of " viscount " 
to the King of Wu, but he does not style Ki-chah by the 
complimentary title Ki Kung-tsz, or "Ki, the son of a reigning 
prince " ; that is, the king's title thus accorded retrospectively 
is only a "courtesy one," and does not carry with it a 
posthumous name, and with that name the posthumous title 
of Kung, or " duke," applied to all civilized rulers. Yet it is 
evident that the ruling caste of Wu considered itself superior 
to the surrounding tribes, for in the year 493 it was remarked : 
" We here in Wu are entirely surrounded by savages " ; and in 
481 the Emperor himself sent a message through Tsin to Wu, 
saying : " I know that you are busy with the savages you have 
on hand at present." In the year 482, when the orthodox 
princes of Sung, Wei, and Lu were holding off from an 
alliance with Wu, the prince of Wei was detained by a Wu 
general, but escaped, and set to work to learn the language of 
Wu. The motive is of no importance ; but the clear state- 
ment about a different language, or at least a dialect so 
different that it required special study, is interesting. When 
Ki-chah was on his travels, he explained to his friends that 
the law of succession is : " By the rites to the eldest, as 
established by our ancestors and by the customs of the 
country." In 502 the King of Wu was embarrassed about his 
successor, whose character did not commend itself to him. 
His counsellor (a refugee from Ts ( u) said : " Order in the 
state ceases if the succession be interrupted ; by ancient law 
son should succeed father deceased." Thus it seems that the 
ancient Chou rules had been conveyed to Wu by the first 
colonists in 1200 B.C., and that the succession laws differed 
from those of Ts'u. Ki-chah's son died whilst he was on his 
travels, and Confucius is reported to have said : " He is a man 
who understands the rites ; let us see what he does." Ki- 
chah bared his left arm and shoulder, marched thrice round 


1 62 Ancient China Simplified 

the grave, and said : " Flesh and bone back to the earth, as 
is proper ; as to the soul, let it go anywhere it chooses ! " 
This language was approved by Confucius, who himself 
always declined to dogmatize on death and spirits, main- 
taining that men knew too little of themselves, when living, 
to be justified in groping for facts about the dead. At first 
sight it would appear strange that a barbarous country like 
Wu should suddenly produce a learned prince who at once 
captivated by his culture Yen-tsz of Ts'i, Confucius of Lu, 
Tsz-ch'an of Cheng, K'ii-peh-yu of Wei, Shuh Hiang of Tsin, 
and, in short, all the distinguished statesmen of China ; but if 
we reflect that, within half a century, the greatest naval, military, 
and scientific geniuses have been produced on Western lines 
in Japan (as we shall soon see, in some way connected 
with Wu), at least we find good modern parallels for the 

When Wu, after a series of bloody wars with Ts f u and 
Yiieh, was in 473 finally extinguished by the latter power, a 
portion of the King of Wu's family escaped in boats in an 
easterly direction. At this time not only was Japan unknown 
to China under that name, but also quite unheard of under 
any name whatever. It was not until 150 years later that 
the powerful states of Yen and Ts'i, which, roughly speaking, 
divided with them the eastern part of the modern province 
of Chih Li, the northern part of Shan Tung, and the whole 
coasts of the Gulf of " Pechelee," began to talk vaguely of 
some mysterious and beautiful islands lying in the sea to the 
east. When the First August Emperor had conquered China, 
he made several tours to the Shan Tung promontory, to 
the site of the former Yiieh capital (modern Kiao Chou), to the 
treaty-port of Chefoo (where he left an inscription), to the 
Shan-hai Kwan Pass, and to the neighbourhood of Ningpo. 
He also had heard rumours of these mysterious islands, and 
he therefore sent a physician of his staff with a number of 

Ancient China Simplified 163 

young people to make inquiry, and colonize the place if 

possible. They brought back absurd stories of some 

monstrous fish that had interfered with their landing, and they 

reported that these fish could only be frightened away by 

tattooing the body as the natives did. The people of Wu, 

who were great fisherfolk and mariners, were also stated to 

have indulged in universal tattooing because they wished to 

frighten dangerous fish away. The first mission from Japan, 

then a congeries of petty states, totally unacquainted with 

writing or records, came to China in the first century of our 

era ; it was not sent by the central King, but only by one of 

the island princes. Later embassies from and to Japan disclose 

the fact that the Japanese themselves had traditions of their 

descent both from ancient Chinese Emperors and from the 

founder of Wu, i.e. from the Chou prince who went there in 

1200 B.C. ; of the medical mission sent by the First August 

Emperor ; of the flight from Wu in 473 B.C. of part of the 

royal Wu family to Japan ; and of other similar matters — all 

apparently tending to show that the refugees from Wu really 

did reach Japan ; that a very early shipping intercourse had 

probably existed between Japan, Ts'i, and Wu ; and that, in 

addition to the statements made by later Chinese historians 

to the effect that the Japanese considered themselves in some 

way hereditarily connected with Wu, the early Japanese 

traditions and histories (genuine or concocted) themselves 

separately repeated the story. One of the later Chinese 

histories says of Wu : " Part of the king's family escaped and 

founded the kingdom of Wo" (the ancient name for the 

Japanese race) : the temptation to connect this word with 

Wu is obvious ; but etymology will not tolerate such an 

identification, either from a Chinese or a Japanese point 

of view ; the etymological " values " are Ua and Gu 


As in the case of Ts'u, there is no really trustworthy 

164 Ancient China Simplified 

evidence to show of what race or races, and in what pro- 
portions, the bulk of the Wu population consisted ; still less 
is there any specific evidence to show to what race the 
barbarian king who committed suicide in 473 belonged ; or 
if those of his family who escaped were wholly or partly 
Chinese ; or if any pure descent existed at all in royal 
circles, dating, that is to say, from the ancient colonists of 
the imperial Chou family in 1200 B.C. 

So far as purely Chinese traditions and history go, the 
cumulative evidence, such as it is, needs careful sifting, and 
is, perhaps, worth a more thorough examination ; but as to 
the Japanese traditions and early "history," these, as the 
Japanese themselves admit, were only put together in written 
form retrospectively in the eighth century A.D., and through- 
out they show signs of having been deliberately concocted 
on the Chinese lines; that is, Chinese historical incidents 
and phraseology are worked into the narrative of supposed 
Japanese events, and Japanese emperors or empresses are 
(admittedly) fitted with posthumous names mostly copied 
from imperial Chinese posthumous names. By themselves 
they are almost valueless, so far as the fixing of specific dates 
and the identification of political events are concerned ; and 
even when taken as ancillary to contemporary Chinese 
evidence, except in so far as a few Chinese misprints or errors 
may be more clearly indicated by comparison with them, 
they seem equally valueless either to confirm, to check, to 
modify, or to contradict the Chinese accounts, which, indeed, 
are absolutely the sole trustworthy written evidence either we 
or the Japanese themselves possess about the actual condition 
of the Japanese 2000 years ago. 

Meanwhile, as to Wu, all we can say with certainty is, 
that there is a persistent rumour or tradition that some of 
its royal refugees (themselves of unknown race) who escaped 
in boats eastward, may have escaped to Japan ; may have 

Ancient China Simplified 165 

succeeded in " imposing themselves " on the people, or a 
portion of the people (themselves a mixed race of uncertain 
provenance) ; and may have quietly and informally introduced 
Chinese words, ideas, and methods, several centuries before 
known and formal intercourse between Japan and China took 


In laying stress upon the barbarous, or semi-barbarous, 
quality of the states (all in our days considered pure 
Chinese), which surrounded the federal area at even so late 
a period as 771 B.C., we wish to emphasize a point which 
has never yet been made quite clear, perhaps not even 
made patent by their own critics to the Chinese themselves ; 
that is to say, the very small and modest beginnings of the 
civilized patriarchal federation called the Central Kingdom, 
or Chu Hu*-~ "All the Hia"— just as we say, "All the 

In allotting precedence to the various states, the historical 
editors, of course, always put the Emperor first in order of 
mention ; then comes Cheng, the first ruler of which state 
was son of an Emperor of the then ruling imperial house ; 
next, the three Protectors Ts'i, Tsin, and Sung ; then 
follow the petty states of Wei, Ts'ai, Ts'ao, and Peng, all 
of the imperial family name, or, as we say in English, 
"surname," and all lying between the Hwai and the Sz 
systems (Peng was a "belonging state" of Lu). Then 
come half a dozen petty orthodox states of less honour- 
able family names ; next, three Eastern barbarian states, 
which had become "Central Kingdom," or which, once 
genuine Chinese, had become half barbarian ; and finally, 
Ts'u, Ts'in, Wu, and Yuen, which were frankly, if vaguely, 
" outer barbarian-Tartar." 

It has already been demonstrated that there is evidence, 


Ancient China Simplified 167 

however imperfect, to show that the mass of the population 
of Ts'u and Wu were of decidedly foreign origin. Even as 
to Ts'i, which was always treated as an orthodox princi- 
pality, it is stated that the founder sent there in or about 
1 100 B.C. " conformed to the manners of the place, and 
encouraged manufactures, commerce, salt and fish industries." 
On the other hand, the son of the Duke of Chou (the first 
vassal prince appointed by his brother the Emperor) changed 
the customs of Lu, modified the local rites, and induced the 
people to keep on their mourning attire for three full years. 
It was considered that the Ts'i policy was the wiser of the 
two, and it was foretold that Lu would always " look up to " 
Ts'i in consequence of this superior judgment on the part 
of Ts'i. On frequent occasions the petty adjoining " Chinesi- 
fied " states, of which Lu was practically the mesne lord, are 
stated to have been " tainted with Eastern barbarian rites." 
From and including modern Sti-chou (North Kiang Su) and 
eastward, all were " Eastern barbarians " ; in fact, the city 
just named (mentioned by the name of Sit in n 00 B.C., and 
again about 950 B.C., as revolting against the Emperor) 
perpetuates the " Su barbarians' " country, which was for 
long a bone of contention between Ts'i and Ts'u, and 
afterwards Wu ; and the name " Hwai savages " proves 
that the Lower Hwai Valley was also independent. The 
Hwai savages, who appear in the Tribute of Yu, founder of 
the Hia dynasty, 2205 B.C., revolted 1000 years later against 
the founders of the Chou dynasty. They were present at 
Ts'u's first durbar in 538 B.C., and are mentioned as barbarians 
still resisting Chinese methods so late as A.D. 970. In 
Confucius' time the Lai barbarians (modern Lai-chou Fu 
in the German sphere) were employed by Ts'i, who had 
conquered them in 567 B.C., to try and effect the assassination 
of Confucius' master. Six hundred years before that, these 
same barbarians were among the first to give in their 

1 68 Ancient China Simplified 

submission to the founder of Ts'i ; and in 602 B.C. both Ts'i 
and Lu had endeavoured to crush them. 

As to the state of Ts'in, there is not a single instance 
given of any literary conversation or correspondence held by 
an orthodox high functionary with a Ts'in statesman. While 
it is not yet quite clear that orthodox China can shake 
herself entirely free of the reproach of human sacrifices in 
all senses, it is quite certain that Ts'in had a barbarous and 
exclusive notoriety in this regard ; and, as the Hiung-nu 
Tartars also practised it, and Ts'in was at least half Tartar 
in blood, it is probable that she derived her sanguinary 
notions from this blood connection with the Turko-Scythian 
tribes. On the death of the Ts'in ruler in 678 B.C., the 
first recorded human sacrifices were made, " sixty-six in- 
dividuals following the dead." In 621, on the death of the 
celebrated Duke Muh, 177 persons lost their lives, and the 
people of Ts'in, in pity, " composed the Yellow Bird Ode " 
(of these popular Chinese odes more anon). This holocaust 
was given as one reason why Ts'in could never " rule in the 
East," i.e. assume the Protectorate over the orthodox 
powers all lying to its east, on account of this cruel defect 
in its laws. In 387 B.C., the new Earl of Ts'in (who 
succeeded a nephew, and therefore could, having no paternal 
duty to fulfil, introduce the innovation more cheaply) 
abolished the principle of human sacrifices at the death of 
a ruler. Ten years later, the Emperor's astrologer paid a 
visit to Ts'in ; — evidence that the imperial civilizing influence 
was still, at least morally, active. This astrologer and his- 
toriographer, whose name was Tan, is interesting, inasmuch 
as he has been confused with Li Tan (the personal name 
of the philosopher Lao-tsz, who was also an imperial official 
employed in the historiographical department). It is added 
that, previous to this visit, for five hundred years Ts'in and 
Chou had kept apart from each other. Notwithstanding 

Ancient China Simplified 169 

this prohibition of human sacrifices, when the First August 
Emperor of Universal China died in 210 B.C., the old Ts'in 
custom was reintroduced, and all his women who had not 
given birth to children were buried with him. Besides this, 
all the workmen who had made the secret door and passage 
to his grave were cemented in alive, so that they might 
never disclose the secret of its approaches. 

It was only after gradually adopting Chinese civilization 
that Ts'in began to be a considerable power ; thus, when Ki- 
chah of Wu was entertained at Lu with specimens of the 
various styles of music, he observed, on being regaled with 
Ts'in music : " Ah ! civilized sounds ; it has succeeded in 
refining itself; it is in occupation of the old Chou appanage." 
So late as 361 B.C., when Ngwei (one of the three royal sub- 
divisions of old Tsin) built a wall to keep off Ts'in, both 
Ngwei and Ts'u (which by this time was quite as good 
orthodox Chinese as any other state) treated Ts'in as though 
the latter were still barbarian. In 326 Ts'in first introduced 
into her realm the well-known year-end sacrifices of the 
orthodox Chinese, which fact alone points to a long isolation 
of Ts'in before this date. 

The rule of succession in Ts'in seems to have been of the 
Tartar kind at one time. Duke Muh, in 660 B.C., succeeded 
his brother, though that brother had seven sons of his own 
living : that brother again, had also succeeded a brother. 

As to Yiieh, there is no question as to its barbarism, 
though the one single king around whose name centres the 
whole glory of Yueh (Kou-tsien, 496-475) seems to have 
been a man of great ability and some fine feeling. The 
native name for Yiieh was Yii-yiieh^ as stated in Chapter VII. ; 
and it seems likely that all the coast of China down to 
Tonquin, or Northern Annam, was then inhabited by cognate 
tribes, all having the syllable Yiieh> or Viit^ in their names. 
The great empire or kingdom of Yiieh, founded upon the 

170 Ancient China Simplified 

ruins of Wu, soon split up into the "Hundred Yueh," i.e. 
(probably) it relapsed into its native barbarism, and ceased to 
cohere as a political factor. "Southern Yiieh" (the Canton 
region) has undoubted historical connections with the Tonquin 
part of Annam, and several other of the subdivisions of Yiieh, 
corresponding to Foochow, Wenchow, etc., show distinct 
traces of having belonged to the same race. But it is unsafe 
to say how the Chinese-transcribed name Yu-yueh was pro- 
nounced ; still more unsafe is it to argue that it must have 
been U ox O-viet simply because the Annamese so pronounce 
the word now. We have seen that, according to one historical 
statement, the Wu and Yiieh people spoke the same language ; 
in which case the members of the ruling Wu caste who fled 
to Japan in 473 B.C. were probably not of the same race as 
the "savages around them." As an act of bravado, in 481, 
the King of Wu made five condemned centurions cut their 
own throats before the Tsin envoy, in order to show what 
effectively stern discipline he kept. In 484 the King of Yiieh 
had already committed a similar act of bravado ; but neither 
of these barbarian states is distinctly recorded to have in- 
dulged in human sacrifices at the death of a sovereign. 
Previous to the crushing of Wu by Yiieh, in 473 B.C., Yiieh 
was nearly annihilated by Wu, and on this occasion Kou- 
tsien's envoy advanced crawling on his knees to beg for mercy ; 
this is hardly an orthodox Chinese custom. However bar- 
barous Yiieh may have been, its ruling house possessed 
traditions of descent, through a concubine, from an emperor of 
the Hia dynasty ; for which reason the founder was enfeoffed, 
near modern Shao-hing, west of Ningpo, in order to fulfil the 
sacrifices to the founder of the Hia dynasty, who was, and is > 
supposed to be buried there: like the first colonists who 
migrated to Wu, he cut his hair, tattooed himself, opened up 
the jungle, and built a town. In 330 B.C. Kou-tsien's descen- 
dant spoke of "taking the road left to Chu-hia" through 

Ancient China Simplified 171 

modern Ho Nan province ; that means taking the high-road to 
China proper. The term originated in times when Ts'u had 
not yet become a recognized " Hia." The fact that YUeh, with 
its new capital then in Shan Tung, could never govern the 
Yang-tsz and Hwai inland regions, seems to prove that her 
power was always purely a water power, and that she was 
comparatively ignorant of land campaigns. 



It is instructive to inquire what were the literary relations 
between the distinguished statesmen and active princes who 
moved about quite freely within the limited area so frequently 
alluded to in foregoing pages as being sacrosanct to civilization 
and the rites. There seems good reason to suppose that the 
literary activity which so disgusted the destroyer of the books 
in 213 B.C. did not really begin until after Confucius' death 
in 479 ; moreover, that the avalanche of philosophical works 
which drenched the royal courts of the Six Kingdoms was in 
part the consequence of Confucius' own efforts in the literary 
line. In the pre-Confucian days there is little evidence of 
the existence of any literature at all beyond the Odes, the 
Changes, the Book, and the Rites, which, after a lapse of 
2500 years or more, are still the "Bible" of China. The 
Odes, of which 3000 were popularly known previous to Con- 
fucius' recension, seem to have been originally composed here 
and there, and passed from mouth to mouth, by the people of 
each orthodox state under impulse of strong passion, feeling, or 
suffering ; or some of them may even have been committed 
to writing by learned folk in touch with the people. Naturally, 
those songs which specially treated of local matters would be 
locally popular ; but it would seem that a large number of 
them must have been generally known by heart by the 
whole educated body all over orthodox China. It will be 
remembered that in the year 1900, an enterprising American 
newspaper correspondent took advantage of President 


Ancient China Simplified 173 

Kruger's penchant for quoting Scripture, and telegraphed to 
him daily texts, selected as applicable to the event, for which 
the replies to be sent were always prepaid. For instance, on 
news of a British victory, the American would telegraph: 
" Victory stayeth not always with the righteous " ; on which 
President Kruger would promptly rejoin : " Yet shall I smite 
him, even unto the end." This was the plan followed by 
Chinese envoys, statesmen, and princes in their intercourse 
with each other : no matter what event transpired, Ki-chah, 
or Tsz-ch'an, or Shuh Hiang would illustrate it with an ode, 
or with a reference to the " Book " (of history), or by an v 
appeal to the Rites of Chou, or to some obscure astrological 
or cosmogonical development extracted from the mystic 
diagrams of " The Changes." As often as not, the quotations 
given from the Odes and Book no longer exist in the editions 
of those two classics which have come down to us. This fact 
is interesting as proving that the Tso Chwan — or Commentary 
of Confucius' pupil Tso K'iu-ming on Confucius' own bare 
notes of history — must have been written before Confucius' 
expurgated Book of Odes reduced and fixed the number of 
selected songs ; or, at all events, the records from which Tso 
K'iu-ming took his quotations must have existed before either 
he or Confucius composed their respective annals and com- 
ments. In the times when a book the size of a three-volume 
novel of to-day would mean a mule-load of bamboo splinters 
or wooden tablets, it is absurd to suppose that generals in 
the field, or envoys on the march, could carry their Odes 
bodily about with them : it is even probable that the four 
11 scriptural " books in question were exclusively committed 
to memory by the general public, and that not more than 
half a dozen varnish-written copies existed in any state ; 
possibly not more than one copy. In fact, the only available 
literary exhilaration then open to cultured friends was to 
check the memory on visiting strange lands by comparing 

174 Ancient China Simplified 

the texts of Odes, Changes, or Book. A knowledge of 
the Rites would perhaps be confined to the ruling classes 
almost entirely, for with them it lay to pronounce the 
religious, the ritual, the social, or the administrative sanction 
applicable to each contested set of circumstances. It is 
very much as though, — as was indeed the case in Johnsonian 
times, — the French, English, and German wits of the day, 
and occasionally distinguished literary specimens of even 
more "barbarous" countries, should at a literary conference 
indulge in quotations from Horace or Juvenal by way of 
passing the time : they would not select the Twelve Tables 
or the Laws of the Praetors as matter for the testing of 

To take a few instances. In 559 the ruler of Wei had 
severely beaten his court music-master for failing to teach 
a concubine how to play the lute. One day the prince invited 
to dinner some statesmen, the father of one of whom had 
taken offence at the prince's rudeness ; and he ordered the same 
musician to strike up the last stanza of a certain ode hinting 
at treason, which the malicious performer did in such a 
way as to give further offence to the father through his son, 
and to bring about the dethronement of the indiscreet prince. 
It gives us confidence in the truth of these anecdotes when we 
find that K'u-peh-yuh was consulted by the offended father 
as to what course he ought to pursue. This Wei states- 
man, who has already been twice mentioned in connection 
with other matters, met Ki-chah of Wu when the latter 
visited that state in 544, and he was also an admired senior 
acquaintance of Confucius himself, whom he twice lodged at 
his house for many months. Three chapters of the " Book " 
still remain, after Confucius' manipulations of it, to prove 
how Wei was first enfeoffed by the Duke of Chou, and 
one of the Odes actually sings the praises of a Ts'i 
princess who married the prince of Wei in 753 B.C. Thus 

Ancient China Simplified 175 

we see that the ancient classics are intertwined and mutually 

When the Second Protector (the last of the four Tartar- 
born brothers to succeed to the Tsin throne) was on his 
wanderings in 644 B.C., the Marquess of Ts'i gave him a 
daughter, of whom he became so enamoured that he seemed 
to be neglecting his political chances amid the pleasures of 
a foreign country, instead of endeavouring to regain his 
rightful throne at home. This princess first of all quoted an 
ode from the group treating of Ch£ng affairs, and secondly 
cited an apt saying from what she "had heard" the great 
Ts'i philosopher Kwan-tsz had said, her object being to 
promote her lively husband's political interests. This all 
took place a few years after Kwan-tsz's death, and 200 
years after the founding of Cheng state, and is therefore 
indirect confirmation of the fact that Kwan-tsz was already 
a well-known authority, and that contemporary affairs were 
usually " sung of" in all the orthodox states. 

When the Duke of Sung, after the death in 628 B.C. of 
the picturesque personality just referred to, was ambitious 
to become the Third Protector of orthodox China and of 
the Emperor ; Confucius' ancestor, then a Sung statesman, 
approved of this ambition, and proceeded to compose some 
complimentary sacrificial odes on the Shang dynasty (from 
which the Sung ducal family was descended) : some learned 
critics make out that it was the music-master of the 
Emperor who really composed these odes for the ancestor 
of Confucius. In any case, there the odes are still, in the 
Book of Odes as revised by Confucius himself about 150 
years later ; and here accordingly we have specific indirect 
evidence of Confucius' own origin ; of the " spiritual " power 
still possessed by the Emperor's court ; and of the " Poet 
Laureate "-like political uses to which odes were put in the 
international life of the times. This foolish Duke of Sung, 

176 Ancient China Simplified 

who was so anxious to pose as Protector, was the one 
already mentioned in Chapters X. and XIV., who would not 
attack an enemy whilst crossing a stream. 

Again, in the year 651, when one of the least popular 
of the four Tartar-born brethren was, with the assistance of 
the Ts'in ruler (who had been over-persuaded against his own 
better judgment), reigning in Tsin, the children of this latter 
state sang a ballad in the streets, prophesying the ultimate 
success of the self-sacrificing elder brother, then still away 
on his wanderings in Tartarland. This song was apparently 
never included among the 3000 odes generally known in 
China ; but it illustrates how such popular songs and popular 
heroes were created and perpetuated. — It is, perhaps, time 
now that we should give the personal name of this popular 
prince, of whom we have spoken so often, and who is as 
well known to Chinese tradition as the severe Brutus is, or 
as the ravishing Tarquin was, to old Roman history. His 
name was Ch'ung-erh, or "the double-eared," in allusion 
to some peculiarity in the lobes of his ears ; besides which, 
two of his ribs were believed to be joined in one piece : his 
great success is perhaps largely owing to his robust and 
manly appearance, which certainly secured for him the eager 
attentions of the ladies, whether Turks or Chinese. His 
Turkish wife had been as disinterestedly solicitous for his 
success, before he went to Ts'i, as his Ts'i wife was when 
she induced him to leave that country. On arrival in Ts'in, 
he was presented with five princesses, including one who 
had already been given to his nephew and immediate pre- 
decessor in Tsin. The "rites" were of course decidedly 
wrong here, but his ally Ts'in was at this time hesitating 
between Chinese and Tartar culture, and in any case he was 
probably persuaded in his mind to let the rites go by the 
board for urgent political purposes. On this occasion his 
brother-in-law and faithful henchman during nineteen years 


? x 


'8 ■+■ 




rah 3l - < 


J. *j ^- 


■3k *&,%£. 

is *& ^ 

a. £ a 

« '- .«• 

gt. ** O* 

P* flf 1 B 


A 1- 

ft $ tl si >♦ *r $ *• 

Ji & -JC W ^ ft 8 f 

tlf^V t s] 'j. 

Original inscription on the Sacrificial Tripod, together with (i) trans- 
cription in modern Chinese character (to the right), and (2) an account of 
its history (to the left). 

Taken from Dr. Bushell's " Chinese Art." 

Ancient China Simplified 177 

of wanderings, sang " the song of the fertilized millet " (still 
existing), meaning that Ch'ung-erh was the gay young stalk 
fertilized by the presents and assistance of the ruler of 
Ts'in : he was, by the way, not so young, then well over 
sixty. He had married the younger of two Tartar sisters, 
and had given her elder sister as wife to the henchman in 
question. (One account reverses the order.) 

Ts'u seems to have possessed a knowledge of ancient 
history and of literature at a very early date. In 597 B.C., 
after his victory over Tsin, the King of Ts'u had, as 
previously narrated, declined to rear a barrow over the 
corpses slain, and had said : " No ! the written or pictograph 
character for ■ soldierly ' is made up of two parts, one signi- 
fying ' stop,' and the other * weapons.' " By this he meant to 
say what the great philosopher Lao-tsz, himself a Ts'u man, 
over and over again inculcated ; namely, that the true soldier 
does not glory in war, but mournfully aims at victory with 
the sole view of attaining rightful ends. Not only was this 
half-barbarian king thus capable of making a pun which 
from the pictograph point of view still holds good to-day, 
but he goes on in the same speech to cite the " peace- 
loving war" of Wu Wang, or the Martial King, founder of 
the Chou dynasty, and to cite several standard odes in 
allusion to it. 

These examples might be multiplied a hundredfold. For 
instance, in the year 589 a Ts'u minister cites the Odes ; 
in 575 a Tsin officer quotes the Book ; in 569 another 
makes allusion to the ancient attempt made by the ruler of 
the then vassal Chou state, the father of the imperial Chou 
founder, and who was at the same time adviser at the 
imperial court, to reconcile the vassal princes to the legiti- 
mate Shang dynasty Emperor (who had already imprisoned 
him once out of pique at his remonstrances), before finally 
deciding to dethrone him. In 546 a Sung envoy cites the 


178 Ancient China Simplified 

Odes to the Ts'u government, and also quotes from that 
section of the " Book " called the Book of the Hia Dynasty. 
In connection with the year 582 an ode is cited for the 
benefit of the King of Ts'u, which is not in Confucius' 
collection. In 541 a Ts'u envoy, who was being entertained 
in Tsin at a convivial wine party, indulges in apt quotations 
from the Odes. 

There does not seem to be one single instance where 
any one in Ts'in either sings an ode, quotes orthodox 
history, or in any way displays literary knowledge. Even 
the barbarian Kou-tsien, King of Yiieh, has wise saws and 
modern instances quoted to him in his distress. For in- 
stance, whilst hesitating about utterly annihilating the Wu 
reigning family, he was advised : " If one will not take gifts 
from Heaven, Heaven may send one misfortune." This is 
a very hackneyed saying in ancient Chinese history, and is 
as much used to-day as it was 2500 years ago : it comes 
from the Book of Chou (now partly lost). It will be re- 
membered that the distinguished Japanese statesman, Count 
Okuma, in his now notorious speech before the Kobe 
Chamber of Commerce on the 20th October, 1907, used 
these identical words to point the moral of Indian com- 
merce. It is doubtful if any other really pregnant Japanese 
philosophical saying exists which cannot be similarly traced 
to China. In any case, Count Okuma was only literally 
carrying out in Kobe the policy of Tsin, Ts'u, Ts'i, and 
Wei statesmen of China 2500 years ago. 

If, as we have assumed, standard books were usually com- 
mitted to memory (and it must be remembered that the Odes, 
and much of the Book, the Changes, and the Rites are still so 
committed to memory in our own times), and were practically 
confined to the headquarters or the wealthy families of each 
state, the cognate question inevitably arises : What about 
the historical records ? It has already been observed that 

Ancient China Simplified 179 

Ts'in, the half-Tartar power in the extreme west, was the only 
state belonging to the recognized federal system (and that 
only since 771 B.C.) of which nothing literary is recorded, 
and which, though powerful enough to assist in making 
Emperors of Chou and rulers of Tsin, was never in Con- 
fucian times thought morally fit to act as Protector of the 
Imperial Federal Union, i.e. of Chu Hia, or " All the Chinas." 
By a singular irony of fate, however, it so happens that a few 
Ts'in inscriptions are the only political ones remaining to us 
of ancient Chinese documents. 

When the outlying semi-Chinese states surrounding the 
inner conclave of orthodox Chinese states, after four centuries 
of fighting and intrigue for the Protectorate, or at least 
for preponderance, at last, during the period 400-375 B.C. 
became the Six Powers, all equally royal, none of them 
owing any real, scarcely even any nominal, allegiance to 
the once solitary King or Emperor, then it was that the 
idea began to enter the heads of the Ts'in statesmen and 
the rulers of at least three of the Six Royal Powers opposed 
to Ts'in that it would be a good thing to get rid of the old 
feudal vassal system root and branch. So unquestionably is 
this period 400-375 B.C. taken as one of the great pivot 
points in Chinese history, that the great historian Sz-ma 
Kwang begins his renowned history, the Tsz-chi T'ung-kietiy 
published in 1084 A.D., with the words : " In 403 B.C. the 
states of Han, Ngwei, and Chao were recognized as vassal 
ruling princes by the Emperor." Ts'in took to educating 
herself seriously for her great destiny, and at last, in 
221 B.C., after the wars already described in Chapter XXVI., 
succeeded in uniting all known China under one centralized 
sway ; rounding off the Tartars so as to make the Great Wall 
(rather than the Yellow River, as of old) their southern limit ; 
conquering the remains of the " Hundred Yiieh " (the vague 
unknown South China which had hitherto been the special 

180 Ancient China Simplified 

preserve of Ts'u ; and assimilating the ancient empire of 
Shuh {i.e. Sz Ch'wan, hitherto only vaguely known to orthodox 
China at all, and politically connected only with Ts'in). 
During this process of universal assimilation and annexation, 
the almost supernaturally active First August Emperor made 
tour after tour throughout his new dominions, showing a 
special predilection for the coasts, for Tartarland, and for the 
Lower Yang-tsz River ; but not venturing far up or far south 
of that Great River ; and even when he did so venture a short 
distance, never leaving the old and well-known water routes : 
nor did he risk a land journey to Sz Ch'wan, to which country 
there were at the time no roads of any kind at all possible 
for armies. It is well known that both he and the legal, 
international, political, and diplomatical adventurers who had 
been for a century or more from time to time at his court 
had been strongly imbued with the somewhat revolutionary 
and then fashionable democratic principles of the new Taoism, 
as defined by the philosopher Lao-tsz ; but he showed no 
particular hostility to orthodox literature until, whilst on his 
travels, deputations of learned men, especially in the ritual 
centres of Lu and Ts'i, began to suggest to him the re-establish- 
ment of the old feudal system, and to " quote the ancient 
scriptures " to him by way of protesting mildly against his 
too drastic political changes. It has been explained in 
Chapter XIII. that in 626 B.C., when his great ancestor Duke 
Muh had availed himself of the advisory services of an 
educated Tartar (of Tsin descent), this Tartar had made use 
of the expression : " The King of the Tartars governs in a 
simple, ready way, without the aid of the Odes and the Book 
as in the case of China." Thus it was that, possibly with this 
ancient warning in his mind, he conceived a sudden, violent, 
and passionate hatred for didactic works generally, and two 
books in particular — the very two, passages from which pedants, 
philosophers, ambassadors, and ministers had for centuries 

Ancient China Simplified 181 

hurled at each other's heads alike in convivial, argumentative, 
and solemn moments. In other words, the Odes and the 
Book, together with Confucius' " Springs and Autumns," with 
its censorious hints for rulers, and all the other local Annals 
and Histories, were under anathema. But more detestable 
even than these were the new philosophical treatises of a 
polemical kind, which girded at monarchs through their subtle 
choice of words and anecdotes, or which recalled the good 
old times of the feudal emperors and their not very obsequious 
vassals. His self-laudatory inscriptions upon stone, scattered 
about as he travelled from place to place, tell us plainly, in his 
own royal words, that this hatred of presumptuous vassal claims 
was his prime motive in destroying all the pedants and books 
he could secure. He denounces the vassals of bygone times 
who ignored the Supreme Emperor, fought with each other, 
and had the insolence to " carve stone and metal in order to 
record their own deeds." The Changes are quoted in 
history often enough by statesmen, as well as the Odes 
and the Book ; but, even if the First August Emperor did 
not entertain the suspicion that the first were (as, indeed, they 
are according to our Western lights) all "hocus-pocus," he 
was himself very credulous and superstitious, and the learned 
word-juggling of the Changes was in any case harmless to 
him ; so that really his rage was confined to the four or five 
books, known by heart throughout China, setting forth the 
ancient ritual system of previous dynasties, as perfected by 
the Chou government ; the subordination of all other kings 
(Ts'in included) to the Chou family ; the wrath of Heaven, 
the divinity of the people, and so on. Things had been made 
worse during the Fighting State Period (480-230) by the 
extraordinary literary activity prevailing at the different royal 
courts, when the old royal tao had been interpreted in one 
way by Lao-tsz and his followers, in another by Confucius 
and his school ; in countless others by the schools of Legists , 

1 82 Ancient China Simplified 

Purists, Scholastics, Cosmogonists, Pessimists, Optimists, and 
so on. A clean sweep was accordingly made, so far as it was 
possible and practicable, of all literature, with the exception 
(amongst old books) of the Changes, and of practical modern 
or ancient books on astronomy, medicine, and agriculture. At 
the same time copies of the proscribed Odes and Book were 
kept on record at court for the use of the learned in the 
service of the Emperor. All " histories," except that of Ts ( in, 
were utterly destroyed, and d fortiori all argumentative works 
on history or on administrative policy of any kind. The old 
Tartar blood and Tartar sympathies of the First August 
Emperor must surely re-appear in a policy so incompatible 
with all orthodox teaching ? In one sense the blight upon 
Chinese civilization was akin to the blight cast upon that of 
Eastern Europe 500 years ago by the "unspeakable Turk." 
The new ruler boldly said : " The world begins afresh with 
me. No posthumous condemnatory titles for me ! My 
successor will be ( August Emperor Number Two,' and so on 
for ever." It was like the Vend^miaire in 1793. 

Thus, except in so far as Confucius may have borrowed 
from local histories besides that of Lu in making up his 
" Springs and Autumns," the Annals of Ts'in are the only 
annals of the feudal states (except the Bamboo Books, or 
Annals of Tsin, dug up in A.D. 281) now left to us. That 
there were such annals in each state is certain, for in 627 B.C. 
the "great historian " of Tsin is spoken of; and in 607 and 510 
the names of the Tsin historians are given, in the first case 
apparently a Tartar. That there should be a Tsin Tartar 
versed in Chinese literature is not remarkable, for it was 
shown at the close of Chapter XIII. how a learned Tsin 
Tartar had acted as adviser to Duke Muh of Ts'in, and had 
left behind him a work in two chapters, which was still in 
existence in 50 B.C. Under the year 628 B.C., one of the 
expanded versions of Confucius' history explains how the 

Ancient China Simplified 183 

anarchy which had then been for some time prevailing in Tsin 
led to certain Tsin events of the year 630 being omitted by 
Confucius ; this is a very important statement, for it infers 
that Confucius made use of the Tsin annals. It is recorded of 
Confucius that when reading the Shi-ki (" Historical Annals"), 
he expressed very strong views when he came to the events 
of 632 and 598 B.C., that is, to the place where the " ordering 
up " of the Emperor by Tsin is described, and to the noble 
action of the " sage " King of Ts'u ; it is interesting to know 
that this old name, Shi-ki^ was chosen by the author of the first 
real history of China published under that title about 90 B.C., 
and that he was not the inventor of the name, which had 
already for centuries been applied in a general sense to the 
historical annals either of Lu or of China generally. 

In 547 B.C. it is stated that the " great historian " of Ts'i 
made certain remarks : we have already seen in the present 
chapter how the Ts'i wife of the Second Protector was in 
640 B.C. perfectly well acquainted with the historical and 
philosophical works of Kwan-tsz, the great administrative inno- 
vator of Ts'i under the First Protector. In the second century 
B.C. Kwan-tsz's work of eighty-six chapters was placed 
at the head of the Taoist works (of course before Taoism 
became Lao-tsz's speciality). It is mentioned, quite casually, 
in the year 538, in a political conversation which took place 
with the King of Ts'u, that the First Protector of Ts'i in the 
year 647 B.C. had had to contend with the serious rebellion of 
a subject (who is named). All circumstances point to the 
truth of this isolated, but otherwise most specific statement ; 
yet it is not mentioned elsewhere, — evidence, if it were wanted, 
that many historical works, from which facts were borrowed 
as though the details were well known to all, must have dis- 
appeared entirely. 

As to Ts'u, its Annals were known by the curious name 
of "Stinking Wood," by which it is supposed that the evil 

184 Ancient China Simplified 

recorded of men upon wooden tablets was meant. That Ts'u 
subsequently developed a high literary capacity is evident, for 
the anniversary of the suicide of the celebrated Ts'u poet K'iih 
Yuan (envoy to Ts'i during the fierce diplomatic intrigues of 
311 B.C.) has been kept up as the annual " dragon festival" 
down to our own times, in memory of his suicide by drowning 
in the Tung-t ( ing Lake district ; and his poems are amongst 
the most beautiful in the Chinese language. In 656 B.C. the 
dictatorial First Protector tried to play the role of the wolf, with 
Ts'u in the character of the lamb : he said : " How is it you 
have not for so many generations past sent your tribute of 
sedge to the Emperor ? How about the other Emperor who 
visited (modern) Hankow in 1003 B.C. and was never heard 
of again ? " The King replied : " As to our failure to send 
tribute, we admit it ; as to the supposed murder of the 
Emperor 350 years ago, you had better ask the people of 
Hankow themselves what they know of it." (Ts'u had hardly 
yet permanently advanced so far east.) 

In 496 B.C. it is recorded of a scholar at the Emperor's 
court that, being anxious to see his own name in the " Springs 
and Autumns," he suggested to the Emperor that for a long 
time no complimentary mission had been sent to Lu. The 
result was that he was sent himself, and is thus immortalized : 
it does not follow from this that the knowledge of Confucius' 
coming book had penetrated to the Chou court, because 
"Springs and Autumns" was already the accepted term in 
Lu for " Annals," long before Confucius adopted the already 
existing general name for his own particular work. In 496 
Confucius had left Lu in disgust, and had gone to Wei — the 
capital of Wei was then on, or near, the then Yellow River 
(now the River Wei), between the two towns marked " Hwa " 
and " K'ai " on modern maps — where he collected materials 
for his History ; but he did not begin it until the year 481 ; so 
probably the ambitious scholar simply hoped to appear in the 

Ancient China Simplified 185 

"Springs and Autumns" of Lu, as they had already been 
called before Confucius borrowed the name, just as Sz-ma 
Ts'ien borrowed the name Shi-ku 

As to Ts'in, Ts'in's own Annals tell us that "in 753 B.C. 
historians were first established to keep record of events." 
Hence even the Ts'in records, the sole annals preserved from 
the flames, must be retrospective from that date. In any case 
they contain nothing of historical importance farther back 
than 753 B.C., except the wars with Tartars ; the accompanying 
of the Emperor Muh, as charioteer, by a Ts'in prince on the 
occasion of his " going to examine his fiefs in the west " ; and 
the cession of the old Chou appanage to Ts'in in 771. By 
their baldness, and by the baldness of the Bamboo Books, and 
of Confucius' own " Springs and Autumns," we may fairly 
judge of the probable insufficiency and dryness of the Annals 
of Ts'u, Ts'i, Wei, Cheng, Sung, and other states interested 
in the welter of the Fighting State Period. Early Chinese 
annals contain little more satisfying than the " generations of 
Adam " in the fifth chapter of Genesis. 


Having now derived some definite notions of how the 
Chinese advanced from the patriarchal to the feudal, from 
the submissive and monarchical to the emulous and demo- 
cratic, finally to collapse under the overpowering grasp of a 
single Dictator or Despot, whose centralized system in the 
main, still survives ; having also seen how the nucleus of 
China proper was encompassed on three sides by Tibetans, 
Tartars, Tunguses, Coreans, and by various ill-defined tribes 
to the south ; let us see if there is any evidence whatever to 
show, or even to suggest to us, whence the orthodox Chinese 
originally came, and who they were. 

First and foremost, it seems primarily unnecessary to 
suggest at all that they came from anywhere ; for, if the 
position be once assumed as an axiom that all people must 
have immigrated from some place to the place in which we 
first find them, or hear of them, then the double question 
arises : " Why should the persons we find in A., and who, we 
think, may have come from B., not have migrated from A. to 
B. before they migrated back from B. to A. ?" Or: " If the 
people we find at A. 'must have come* from B., whence did 
the people at B. come, before they went to A. ? " To put it in 
another way : given the existence 4000 or 5000 years ago of 
Chinese in China, Egyptians in Egypt, and Babylonians in 
Babylonia — why should one group be assumed to be older 
than the other ? The only ground for suggesting that these 


Ancient China Simplified 187 

groups had not each a separate evolution, is the assumption 
that man was " created " once for all, and created summarily ; 
in which case it follows with mathematical precision that the 
ultimate ancestry of every man living extends back to exactly 
the same date. That is to say, the highest and the lowest, 
the blackest and the whitest, only differ in this, that some 
men began to keep records earlier than others ; for the man 
who keeps no records loses track of his ancestors, and that is 
all. Not to mention other races, some of our own noblest 
English families trace back their ancestry to a favoured or 
successful person, who was of no hereditary distinction before 
he distinguished himself ; whilst on the other hand the tramp 
and the street-walker may have as " royal " blood in their 
veins as any lineal princely personage. It is records, there- 
fore, that differentiate " civilized " from uncivilized people, 
blue blood from plebeian ; and as we see millions of people 
living without records to-day in various parts of the world, 
notwithstanding that for centuries, or even for millenniums, 
they have been surrounded by or in immediate contact with 
neighbours possessing records, it seems to follow that a 
nation's greatness may begin at any time, independently of 
the blueness of its blood, the robustness of its warriors, the 
beauty of its women ; that is, whenever it chooses to keep 
records, and thus to cultivate itself: for records are nothing 
more than the means of keeping experiences in stock, instead 
of having to repeat them every day ; they are thus accumula- 
tions of national wealth. It by no means follows that 
because records can be traced back farther in the case of one 
nation than in the case of another, that the first nation is 
older than the other ; for instance, although in the West our 
various alphabets appear to refer themselves back to one 
same source, or to a few sources which probably all hark back 
ultimately to one and the same, there seems no reason to 
believe that the Chinese did not independently invent, develop, 

1 88 Ancient China Simplified 

and perfect their own scheme of written records : the mere 
fact that we learnt how to write is some evidence in support 
of the proposition that they also, being men like ourselves, 
learnt how to write. 

There is no documentary evidence for the barest existence 
of ancient China, or of any part of it, which is not to be found 
in the Chinese records, and in them alone ; no nation any- 
where near China has any record or tradition of either its 
own or of China's existence at a period earlier than the 
Chinese records indicate. Those records do not contain the 
faintest allusion to Egypt, Babylonia, India, or any other 
foreign country or place whatever outside the extremely 
limited area of the Central Nucleus, and the larger area 
occupied by the semi- Chinese colonial powers surrounding it. 
Nor is there the faintest evidence that the Biblical " land of 
Sinim" had any reference to China, which seems to have 
been as absolutely unknown to the West previous to, say, 
250 B.C., as America was unknown to Europe, or Europe to 
America previous to 1400 A.D. If any ideas were derived 
from China by the West, or from the West by China, the 
records of both China and the West alike point, however, to 
one obvious connecting link, and that is, the horse-riding 
nomads of the north, who are now, it is true, in some parts 
a little more settled than they used to be, and who have 
been tamed in various degrees by dogmatic religions un- 
known to them in ancient times, but who remain in many 
respects now very much what they were 3000 years ago. 
Of course pedlars, hawkers, and even long-course caravans 
travelled, whenever the routes were free, from place to place 
in ancient times as they do now ; but it is exceedingly 
improbable that there would be any through-travellers from 
Europe to China, except one or two occasional waifs or 
adventurers buffeted through by chance. If 600 years ago, 
Marco Polo's through-route adventures were regarded in 

Ancient China Simplified 189 

Europe as almost incredible, notwithstanding the then recent 
and well-trodden war-path of the Mongol armies, what 
chances are there of through-travel 2000 years before that ? 
And, even if a rare case occasionally occurred, what chances 
are there of any one recording it ? 

The probability is, so far as sane experience takes us, 
that the Chinese had been exactly where we first find them 
for many thousand years, or even for myriads of years, 
before their own traditions begin. With the exception of 
the discovery of America, which brought a flood of strangers 
into a strange land, and speedily exterminated the aborigines, 
there do not appear to be any authenticated instances in 
history of extensive and robust populations being entirely 
displaced like flocks of sheep by others. Any one who 
travels widely in China can see for himself that, wherever 
unassimilated tribes live in complete or partial independence, 
and, d fortiori, where the assimilation has been carried out, 
all those tribes possess at least this point in common with 
the original Chinese or the assimilated speakers of Chinese — 
that their language is monosyllabic, uninflected, not agglu- 
tinative, and tonic ; i.e. that each word is " sung " in a 
particular way, besides being pronounced in a particular 
way. Probably those tribes before they were absorbed, 
or, despite their not having yet been absorbed by 
the Chinese, had been there as long as the Chinese 
had been in the contiguous Chinese parts. It seems 
reasonable to suppose that the Chinese would absorb 
their own race-classes more readily than they would absorb 
Tartars, Japanese, and Coreans, all of whom belong to the 
same dissyllabic, long-worded, agglutinative family. And 
so it is : the Chinese followed the lines of least resistance 
(after themselves becoming cultured) and worked their way 
down the rivers and other watercourses towards what we 
call South China. From the very first, their passage 

190 Ancient China Simplified 

northwards across the Yellow River was contested by the 
Tartars, whom they have since partly driven back, and 
partly (with great effort) absorbed. They have never been 
able to assimilate the Coreans, not to say the Japanese, 
though both peoples took very kindly to Chinese civilization 
after our Christian era, when first friendly missions began to 
be interchanged. Indo-China contains many more of the mono- 
syllabic and tonic tribes than of others ; if, indeed, there are 
any at all of the dissyllabic and non-tonal classes ; and the 
Chinese have no difficulty in merging themselves with 
Annamese, Tonquinese, Cambodgians, Siamese, Shans, Thos, 
Laos, Mons, and such like peoples : but their own adminis- 
trative base is too far north ; the conditions of food and 
climate in Indo-China are not quite favourable for the 
marching of armies, especially when it is remembered that 
the best troops used have always been Tartars, used to 
warm clothes and heating food. There have, besides, always 
been rival Indian religion, rival Indian colonization, rival 
Indian language, and rival Indian trade influence to contend 
with. No absorption of Indian races has ever been any- 
where effected by China. Tibetans never came into question 
in ancient times ; if they were known, it could only have 
been to Shuh (Sz Ch'wan) and Ts'in or early Chou (Shen Si). 
If it had not been the Chinese of Ho Nan who first 
used records, it is just as probable that the tonic and 
monosyllabic absorption which, as things were and are, 
moved from north to south, might have moved from south 
to north. During the Chou dynasty (1 122 B.C-222 B.C.), when 
the extension of the Chinese race took place (which had 
probably already for long gone on) in the clear light 
of history, it will be noticed that the rulers of all the 
great colony nations of the south — Ts'u, Wu, and Yiieh — 
had, in turn, to remind the Emperor of China of their 
perfect equality with him in spiritual claim and ancient 

Ancient China Simplified 191 

descent ; of their connection with dynasties precedent to 
his ; of times when his ancestor was a mere vassal like 
themselves. No Tartars of those times ever put forth claims 
like these, though, it is true, in much later times some of 
the (non-Turkish) Tartar rulers of North China traced their 
ancestors back to the mythical Chinese emperors who reigned 
in Shan Tung. Again, the founder of the Hia dynasty 
(2205 B.C.) is repeatedly said to have been buried at modern 
Shao-hing (between Hangchow and Ningpo), and the King 
of Yiieh even sacrificed to him there. So the Emperor 
Shun, the predecessor and patron of the same founder, was 
traditionally buried near Ch'ang-sha in modern Hu Nan 
province. The First August Emperor included both these 
"lions" in his pleasure tours among the great sights of 
China. No sound historical deduction, of course, can be 
drawn from these traditions, however persistent : if false, 
they were, at any rate, open to the criticism of a revolutionary 
and all-powerful Emperor over 2000 years ago, and to a 
second, almost equally powerful, who visited both places a 
century later ; the suggestion inevitably follows from the 
existence of these traditions in the south that either the 
cultured Chinese whom we first find in Ho Nan had moved 
northwards from Hu Nan, Kiang Si, and the lake districts 
generally, before they spread themselves backwards ; or that 
the uncultured Chinese had moved north before the cultured 
Chinese moved south ; or that both north and south Chinese 
were at first equally cultured, until within historical times 
the north Chinese (i.e. in Ho Nan, along the Yellow River) 
so perfected their system of records that they carried all 
before them. After all there is no strain on the imagination 
in suggesting this, for early Western civilization grew up in 
the same way. 

There is not the smallest hint of any immigration of 
Chinese from the Tarim Valley, from any part of Tartary, 

192 Ancient China Simplified 

from India, Tibet, Burma, the Sea, or the South Sea Islands : 
in fact, there is no hint of immigration from anywhere even in 
China itself, except as above hypothetically described. There 
the Chinese are, and there they were ; and there is an end 
to the question, so far as documentary evidence goes. Of 
course, the persistent Tarim Valley scheme proposed is only 
a means to get in the thin end of the wedge, in order to 
drive home the thick end in the shape of a definite start 
from the Tower of Babel, and an ultimate reference to the 
Garden of Eden. If there are still people who believe it 
their duty on Scriptural principle to accept this naive 
Western origin of the Chinese, there is no reason why 
religious belief or imagination should not be perfectly re- 
spected, and even find a working compromise with the 
principle of strict adherence to human evidence. If super- 
natural agencies be once admitted (as the limited human 
intellect understands Nature), there seems to be no more 
reason for accepting the creation of a complete whale 
(already a hundred years old, according to the growth period 
of later whales), than for accepting the creation of complete 
men with 1000 years' history behind them instead of 100; 
or that of the earth with 20,000, or even 20,000,000 years' 
history behind it, and even before it ; for as the first whale, 
or pair of whales, must set the standard of natural history for 
all future whales, so the man created with history behind him 
may equally well have history created in front of him. 
"Nature," according to the imperfect human understanding, 
is no more outraged in one case than in the other, nor can 
mere time or size count as anything towards increasing our 
wonder when we tell ourselves what supernatural things unseen 
powers superior to ourselves may have done. This amounts 
to the same thing as saying that dogmatic belief, personal 
religious conviction, agnosticism, superstition, and imagina- 
tion are all on equal terms, and are equally respectable 

Ancient China Simplified 193 

factors when confronted with human historical evidence, so 
long as they are kept rigidly apart from the latter. As an 
eminent Catholic has recently said: "The Church has no 
more reason to be afraid of modern science than it was of 
ancient science." In other words, however pious and religious 
a man may be (as we understand the words in Europe), 
there is no reason why, as a recreation apart from his faith, 
he should not rigidly adhere to the human evidence of 
history so far as it goes. On the other hand, however 
sceptical and discriminating a man may be, from the point 
of view of imperfect human knowledge, in the admittance of 
humanly proved fact, there is no reason why, from the 
emotional and imaginative side of his existence, he should 
not rigidly subscribe to dogma or personal conviction, 
whether the abstract idea of virtue, the concrete idea of love 
for some cherished human being, or the yearning for some 
supernatural state of sinlessness be concerned. A distin- 
guished financier, for instance, may regale his imagination 
with socialistic dreams of a perfect Utopia ; but, when the 
weekly household bills are presented to him, he deals with 
overcharges in pence like any other practical individual. 

From one point of view, the Chinese, already provided 
with their tonic language at the Confusion of Tongues, 
marched to the Yellow River, where we find them. From 
the other, there is no evidence whatever to connect the 
Chinese with any people other than those we find near them 
now, and which have from the earliest times been near 
them ; no evidence that their language, their civilization, 
their manners, ever received anything from, or gave anything 
to, India, Babylonia, Persia, Egypt, or Greece, except so far 
as has been suggested above, or will be suggested below. 



Allusion has already been made to the eclipses mentioned 
in Confucius 1 history as a means by which the probability 
of his general truth as a historian may in a certain measure be 
gauged. A few words upon the Chinese calendar, as it is and 
was, may therefore not be amiss. The Chinese month has 
from first to last been uncompromisingly lunar ; that is to say, 
the first day of each month, or " moon " as it may strictly and 
properly be called, always falls within the day (beginning at 
midnight) during which the new moon occurs. Of course, Peking 
is the administrative centre now, and therefore the observations 
are taken there with reference to the Peking meridian. As 
Confucius took his facts and records mainly from the Lu 
archives, and (we must suppose) noted celestial movements 
from what was seen by the Lu astronomers, it has always been 
presumed that the eclipses mentioned by him were observed 
from Lu too ; that is, from a station over four degrees of longi- 
tude and one of latitude removed from the imperial capital as 
it then was (modern Ho-nan Fu). It was the duty of all 
sovereign princes to proclaim the first day of the moon at their 
ancestral temple ; and even if the Chinese of those days had 
discovered the difference in " time " between east and west, 
these princes must each of them have proclaimed the day 
during which the new moon occurred as it occurred to them- 
selves, in their own State, and not as it occurred to the Emperor's 
astronomers. On the other hand, when eclipses were observed 


Ancient China Simplified 195 

from the comparatively small territory of Lu, it must have 
occurred, at least occasionally, that visitors from other states 
had either the same eclipse or other eclipses to report. If the 
Emperor's astronomer reported eclipses in Ho-nan Fu on a 
given day, it is difficult to see how Lu, which was a centre 
almost of equal standing with the imperial capital for ortho- 
doxy in rites and records, could have entirely ignored such 

But the Chinese year has always been luni-solar. From the 
earliest times they had observed the twelve ecliptical "mansions " 
and zodiacal signs, and also that the time occupied by the sun 
in travelling through a mansion was rather longer than one luna- 
tion, or the time intervening between two new moons. Their 
object has accordingly always been to bring the lunar and solar 
years into manageable combination, so that the equinoxes, sol- 
stices, and " seasons " might occur with as much regularity as 
possible in the same months, and so that the husbandman might 
know when to sow his grain. Formerly they regulated this dis- 
crepancy according to the mean movements of the sun and 
moon ; but, ever since the Jesuits first instructed them more 
accurately, they have regulated the two years, that is, the solar 
year and the twelve lunations, according to the true movements, 
and with reference to the meridian of Peking. If the moons 
were each exactly 29 \ days in length, instead of being 
44 minutes 2*87 seconds longer, it would have been a simple 
matter to halve the ordinary lunar year, and make six months 
"large" (30 days) and six "small" (29 days) ; but the extra 
44 minutes and a fraction accumulate, and the result is that 
there must always be a larger number of " great " months than 
" small " in the year. The way the Chinese arranged this was 
to call a month " great " (30 days) if the interval between mid- 
night (beginning of the new-moon day) and the hour of the 
next new moon was full 30 days or over in duration ; if less 
than 30 days, then the month was a " small " one (29 days). 

196 Ancient China Simplified. 

Not more than two long months ever followed in succession, 
and two short months never did so. 

But, in any case, even twelve regular moons of 29 \ days 
only make 354 days, whereas a solar year is about 365J days, 
whilst the sun's time in passing through a " mansion " (one- 
twelfth of the solar year) is about 30 J days. Thus there was a 
" superfluity " of about ten days in every lunar year, or about 
one lunation in every third year; not to mention that a 
" mansion " was about a day longer than a lunation, and that 
therefore the husbandman was liable to be thrown out of his 
reckoning. In order to remedy this, the Chinese intercalated a 
month once in about thirty-three moons, and called the inter- 
calary month by the same name as the one preceding it, both 
with regard to the common numbers 1-12, and with regard to 
the two endless cycles of twelve signs and sixty signs, by which 
moons are calculated for ever, in the past and in the future. 
Regarding the difficulty of seasons, the solar year was divided 
into twenty-four " joints," and each " joint w was about half a 
" mansion," (the difference rarely exceeding one hour). How- 
ever, the spring equinox is always the sixth " joint," and is the 
middle of spring season : this and the other " joints " being all 
about 15 \ days in length, the Chinese seasons can be sym- 
metrically divided with relation to both equinoxes and both 
solstices ; for the intercalary moon (judiciously made unobtru- 
sive, and kept out of vulgar sight as far as possible) settles the 
lunar year difficulty ; and the seasons conform, as of course they 
should do, to the heat of the sun, which is a much more natural 
and practical arrangement than our own arbitrarily assorted 
and unequal months. 

The endless sixty-year cycle of years is usually referred 
back to for a beginning to either 2697 or 2637 B.C. ; but, apart 
from the fact that there is little or no accurate knowledge 
anterior to 842 B.C., it is of no importance when it began, 
so long as sixty pairs of equinoxes and solstices are calculated 

Ancient China Simplified 197 

backwards indefinitely. It goes back, in any case, to a date 
beyond which the memory of Chinese man runneth not to 
the contrary ; it is unbroken and continuous ; we are free to 
take up any date we like at sixty-year intervals, and say 
" here I agree to begin " : we cannot deny that 1908 is the 
cycle year it purports to be ; and even if we did, batches of 
sixty years backwards from any other cyclic year called 1908, 
would always have a fixed relation to the other 4604 years 
recorded ; nor, having accepted 1908, can we deny 1808, 1708, 
and so on, as far back as we like, in order to test how any 
given event, eclipse or other, coincides relatively with our 
own date : it is not a question of beginning, but of counting 
back, and stopping. We find Confucius of Lu (Chou clan state) 
using the calendar of the Chou dynasty (1122 B.C-249 B.C.) ; 
whose founder had said : " In future we make the eleventh 
month the beginning of the year instead of the twelfth 
month." The previous dynasty of Shang (1766-1123) had 
similarly said : " In future we make the twelfth month begin 
the year instead of the first." The previous dynasty of Hia 
(2205-1767) and the individual emperors before had all said 
(or taken for granted) : " The year begins in the first month," 
from which we may naturally conclude that there could not 
have been an earlier calendar, as no " sage " could reasonably 
begin anywhere but at the beginning. At the same time, it 
must be explained that the astronomical order of the months, 
counting the first as being that when the sun enters Capricorn, 
is different from the civil order. Thus the Hia, Shang, and 
Chou first civil months were the third, second, and first astro- 
nomical months, representing the sun's entry into Pisces, 
Aquarius, and Capricorn , respectively. When the First August 
Emperor conquered the whole of China, and proceeded to 
unify cart-axles, weights and measures, written characters, 
and many other discrepant popular arrangements, he said : 
"Let the tenth month be in future the first in the year 

198 Ancient China Simplified 

instead of the eleventh." That is to say, he took as civil 
first month the twelfth astronomical month, or that in which 
the sun enters Sagittarius, Thus we see that in 2000 years 
the calendar had got about 90 days out of gear ; or, roughly, 
about an hour a year. 

All the above may, perhaps, be understood more clearly 
by considering the following unmistakably genuine state- 
'TpC "fp* ment made by the Emperor in 104 B.C., a hundred years after 
the Ts'in dynasty had been destroyed ; after he had contem- 
plated the tombs of the ancient monarchs as explained in the 
last chapter ; after the West of Asia had been discovered ; 
and when it is possible (though there is no record of it) that 
Persians, Indians, Greeks, etc., may have intervened in dis- 
cussion upon the calendar. He says : " After the Emperors 
Yu and Li (the two who fled from their metropolis in 771 B.C. 
and 842 B.C. respectively, as related), the Chou dynasty went 
wrong, and those who were doubly subjects began to wield 
power ; astrologers ceased to keep reckoning of seasons ; the 
princes no longer proclaimed the first day of each moon. 
Hereditary astronomers got scattered ; some remained in 
All the Hia (orthodox China) ; others betook themselves to 
the various barbarians. In the twenty-sixth year of the 
Emperor Siang (626 B.C.) there was an intercalary third 
month, which arrangement the * Springs and Autumns ' 
condemns (it should have been at the end of the year). . . . 
The First August Emperor took the tenth month as the 
beginning of the year. . . . The present Emperor (of the 
Han dynasty) appointed two astronomers, the second of whom 
(a native of East Sz Ch'wan) advanced the calculations and 
improved the calendar. Then it was found that the measures 
of the Sun and the Mansions agreed with the principles 
adopted by the Hia dynasty. . . . The first cyclic day and also 
the first lunar day of the eleventh moon has now been proved 
to be the winter solstice. I change the seventh year (of my 

Ancient China Simplified 199 

present reign-period), and I make of it the first year of 
the new reign-period, to be called * Great Beginning/" — Accord- 
ingly what had up to that date been the seventh year (of a 
reign-period bearing another name) now became a year of 442 
days ; that is to say, the three months postponed in turn 
by the Hia, Shang, and Chou dynasties were taken up again, 
and accordingly that one correcting year consisted of fifteen 
months. With slight changes, always adopted only to be 
again rejected after a few years of trial, this has been the basis 
of all later calendars ; and for this reason Confucius' birthday 
is kept on the twenty-seventh day of the eighth moon instead 
of during the tenth moon, as it would have been according 
to Chou dates. 

The above examination into the calendar question tends 
to show still more clearly the good faith of the historians and 
the administration ; it also illustrates the continuity and 
painstaking accuracy of the Chinese records, whatever other 
defects they may otherwise disclose. 



ONE of the difficulties of Chinese ancient history is the 
unravelling of proper names ; but, as with other difficulties, this 
one is owing rather to the novelty and strangeness of the 
subject, to the unfamiliarity of scene and of atmosphere, than 
to any inherent want of clearness in the matter itself. In read- 
ing Scottish history, no one is much disconcerted to find a man 
called upon the same page (as an imaginary instance), Old 
John, John McQuhirt, the Master of Weel, the McQuhirt, the 
Laird o' Airton, the Laird of the Isle, and the Earl of Airton 
and Weel ; there are many such instances to be found in 
Boswell's account of the Johnsonian trip to the Hebrides ; but 
the puzzled Englishman has at least his own language and a 
fairly familiar ground to deal with. When, however, we come to 
unpronounceable Chinese names of strange individuals, moving 
about amid hitherto unheard-of surroundings 2500 years ago, 
with a suspicion of uncertainty added about the genuineness 
and good faith of the whole story, things are apt to seem 
hopelessly involved, even where the best of good-will to 
understand is present. Thus Confucius may be called K'ung- 
tsz, K'ung Fu-tsz, or Chung-ni, besides other personal applica- 
tions under the influence of tabu rules. Tsz-ch'an may be 
spoken of as Kung-sun K'iao, or (if he himself speaks) simply 
as K'iao. And so on with nearly all prominent individuals. 

In those times the family names, or " surnames " as we say 
in English, were not used with the regularity that prevails in 


Ancient China Simplified 201 

China now, when every one of standing has a fixed family 
name, such as Li or Yuan, followed by an official personal 
name, like Hung-chang or Shi-k'ai. In old times the clan or 
tribe counted first ; for instance the imperial clan oiKi included 
princes of several vassal states. But, after five generations, it 
was expected that any given family unit should detach itself. 
Thus, in 710 B.C., Confucius' ancestor, son of the composer of 
odes mentioned on page 175, took, or was given by the ruler of 
his native state, Sung, the detached family name of K'ung-fu 
(Father K'ung), " Father " being the social application, and 
K'ung the surname, which thence became the family name of 
a new branch. The old original clan-names were little used by 
any one in a current sense, just as the English family name of 
Guelph is kept in the dim background so far as current use 
goes. Nor were the personal names, even of Chinese emperors 
and kings, so grave and decorous in style as they have always 
been in later times. For instance, " Black Buttocks," " Black 
Arm," " Double Ears " ; — such names (decidedly Turkish in 
style) are not only used of Tsin princes with an admixture of 
Tartar blood nearly always coursing more or less in their 
veins, but also in such states as the orthodox Lu. The name 
" Black Arm," for instance, is used both by Lu and by Ts'u 
princes ; also by a Ts'u private individual ; whilst an orthodox 
Duke of Sung bears the purely Turkish name of T'ouman, 
which (and exactly the same pictograph characters, too) was 
also the name of the first historical Hiung-nu (later Turkish) 
Khan several centuries later. The name Luh-fu or " Emolu- 
ments Father," belonging to the son of the last Emperor of the 
Shang dynasty in 1123 B.C., was also the personal name of one 
of the rulers of Ts'i many centuries later. In the same way 
we find identical personal names in Ch'en and Lu, and also in 
Ts'u and Lu princes. Eunuchs were not considered to possess 
family names, or even official personal names. If there had 
been then, as now, a celibate priestly caste, no doubt then, as 

202 Ancient China Simplified 

now, priests would also have been relieved of their family 
name rights. 

It seems quite clear that many if not most family names 
began in China with the name of places, somewhat after 
the Scotch style: even in Lancashire the title of the old 
lord of the manor is often the family surname of many of 
the village folk around. Take the Chinese imperial domain 
for instance; in the year 558 one Liu Hia goes to meet 
his master the new Emperor. His name (Hia) and surname 
(Liu) would serve just as well for current use to-day, as 
for example with the late viceroy Liu K'un-yih ; but we are 
told Liu Hia was so "named" by the historian in full be- 
cause his rank was not that of first-class statesman, and it is 
explained that Liu was the name of his tenancy in the imperial 
appanage. At a Lu funeral in 626 B.C. the Emperor's repre- 
sentative to the vassal state is spoken of complimentarily by 
his social appellation in view of his possessing first-class 
ministerial rank : he cannot be spoken of by his detached 
clan-name, or family name, " because he has not yet received 
a town in fee." A few years later, another imperial messenger 
is spoken of as King-shuh (Glory Uncle), " Glory " being the 
name of his manor or fee, and " Uncle " his social appellation. 
In 436 B.C. the Emperor sent a present of sacrificial meat to 
Lu by X. As X is thus " named," he must be of " scholar " 
rank, as an imperial " minister " (it is explained) could not be 
thus named. The ruler alone has the right to " affront a man " 
at all times with his personal name, but even a son in speaking 
of his own father to the Emperor may " affront " his father, 
because both his father and himself are on equal subject foot- 
ing before the Emperor. To " name " a man in history is not 
always like " naming " a member in the House of Commons. 
For instance, the King of Ts'u, as mentioned in Chapter 
XXVII., was named for killing a Chinese in 531, but not for 
killing a barbarian prince in 526 B.C. It was partly by these 

Ancient China Simplified 203 

delicate shades of naming or not naming, titling or not titling, 
that Confucius hinted at his opinions in his history: in the 
Ts'u case, it seems to have been an honour to " name " a bar- 
barian. Wei Yang, Kung-sun Yang, or Shang Kiin, or 
Shang Yang, the important personage who carried a new 
civilization to Ts'in, and practically "created" that power 
about 350 B.C., was, personally, simply named Yang, or " Belly- 
band." As he came originally from the orthodox state or 
principality of Wei, he might be called Wei Yang, just as we 
might say Alexander of Fife. As he received from Ts'in, as a 
reward for his services, the petty principality of Shang (taken 
in war by Ts'in from Ts'u), he might be called the prince or 
laird {kiin) of Shang (cf. Lochiel), or Shang Kiin. As he was 
the grandson {sun) of a deceased earl (called kung, or " duke," 
as a posthumous compliment), he was entitled to take the 
family name of Kung-sun, just as we say " Fitzgeorge " 
or " Fitzwilliam." Finally, he was Yang ( = John) of Shang 
( = Lochiel). In speaking of this man to an educated Chinese, 
it does not in the least matter which of the four names be used. 
In the same way, Tsz-ch'an (being a duke's grandson) was 
Kung-sun K'iao. The word tsz, or " son," after a family name, 
as for instance in K'ung-tsz (Confucius), is defined as having 
the effect of " gracefully alluding to a male." It seems 
really to be the same in effect as the Latin us, as in Celsius, 
Brutus, Thompsonius, etc. When it precedes, not the family 
name or the tabu'd personal name, but the current or 
acquaintance name, then it seems to have the effect of Don or 
Dom, used with the most attenuated honorificity ; or the 
effect of " Mr." Fu-tsz means " The Master." 

As to tabus, the following are curious specific instances. 
King, or " Jungle," was the earliest name for Ts'u, or " Brush- 
wood," the uncleared region south of the River Han, along 
the banks of the Yang-tsz ; and it afterwards became a 
powerful state. But one of the most powerful kings of 

204 Ancient China Simplified 

** Ts'in (249-244) was called Tsz-ts'u, or " Don Brushwood," 

so his successor the First August Emperor (who was really 
a bastard, and not of genuine Ts'in blood at all) tabu'd the 
word Ts'u, and ordered historians to use the old name King 
instead. In the same way the philosopher Chwang Chou, 
or Chwang-tsz, was spoken of by the Han historians as 

a\ Yen Chou, because chwang was an imperial personal name. 

Both words mean " severe " : it is as though private Romans 
and public scribes had been commanded to call themselves 
and to write Austerus, instead of Severus, out of respect for the 
Emperor Septimius Severus. The business-like First August 
Emperor, himself, evidently had no hand in the pedantic 
King and Ts'u tabu business, for one of his first general 
orders when he became Supreme Emperor in 221 B.C., was 
to proclaim that " in ancient times there were no posthumous 
names, and they are hereby suppressed. I am Emperor the 
First. My successor will simply be Emperor the Second, 
and so on for ever." There is no clear record of posthumous 
names and titles anterior to the Chou dynasty ; the first 
certain instance is the father of the founder, whose personal 
name was Cftang, and who had been generally known as 
the " Earl of the West." His son, the founder, made him 
Wen Wang, or the " Civilian King," posthumously. In the 
same way the Duke of Chou, a son of the Civilian King, 
made his brother the founder, personally called Fah, Wu 
Wang, or the " Warrior King." The same Duke of Chou (the 
first ruler of Lu, and Confucius' model in all things) was 
the virtual founder of the Chou administrative system in 
general, and also of the posthumous name rules which were 
" intended to punish the bad and encourage the good " ; but 
counsellors have naturally always been very gingerly and 
roundabout in wounding royal family feeling by selecting too 
harsh a " punishing " name. 

Not only royal and princely personages had posthumous 


Ancient China Simplified 205 

names. In 817 and 796 B.C., each, we find a counsellor of 
the Emperor spoken of both by the real and the posthumous 
name. In 542 B.C. a concubine of one of the Lu rulers 
is spoken of by her clan-name and her posthumous name. 
In 560 B.C. the dying King of Ts'u modestly alludes to the 
choice of an inferior posthumous name befitting him and 
his poor talents, for use at the times of biennial sacrifice to 
his manes, and adds: "I am now going to take my place 
d la suite, in company with my ancestors in the temple." 

Persons of the same clan-name could not properly inter- 
marry. Thus the Emperor Muh, who is supposed to have 
travelled to Turkestan in the tenth century B.C., had a 
mysterious liaison during his expedition with a beauteous 
Miss Ki (i.e. a girl of his own clan), who died on the way. 
The only way tolerant posterity can make a shift to defend 
this " incest," is by supposing that in those times the names 
of relatives were " arranged differently." However, the mere 
fact that the funeral ceremonies were carried out with full 
imperial Chou ritual, and that incest is mentioned at all, 
seems to militate against the view (noticed in Chapter XIII.) 
that it was Duke Muh of Ts'in who (400 years later) under- 
took this journey, for he did not belong to the Ki family 
at all. Curiously enough, it fell to the lot of the son and 
successor of the Emperor Muh to have to punish and destroy 
a petty vassal state whose ruler had committed the incestuous 
act of marrying three sisters of his own clan-name. In 
483 B.C. the ruler of Lu also committed an indiscretion by 
marrying a Ki girl. As her clan-name must, according to 
rule, be mentioned at her burial, she was not formally buried 
at all, but the whole affair was hushed up, and she was 
called by the fancy name of Meng-tsz (exactly the same 
characters as " Mencius "). 

Another instance serves to illustrate the above-mentioned 
imperial journey west, and the fief questions jointly. When 

206 Ancient China Simplified 

the Emperor Muh went west, he was served as charioteer 
by one of the ancestors of the future Ts'in principality, who 
for his services was enfeoffed at Chao (north of Shan Si 
province). Chao was one of the three states into which Tsin 
broke up in 403 B.C., and was very Tartar in its sympathies. 
Thus, as both Ts'in and Chao bore the same original clan- 
name of Ying, granted to the Ts'in family as possessions 
of the Ts'in fief (Eastern Kan Suh province) by the early 
Chou emperors in 870 B.C., Ts'in is often spoken of as 
having the sub-clan-name of Chao. These facts, again, all 
militate against the theory that it was Duke Muh of Ts'in 
who made the voyage of discovery usually attributed to the 
Chou Emperor Muh ; for Duke Muh's lineal ancestor, ancestor 
also of the original Ts'in Ying, himself acted as guide in 
Tartary to the Emperor Muh. The First August Emperor, 
who was, as already stated, really a bastard, was borne by 
the concubine of a Chao merchant, who made over the 
concubine whilst enceinte to his (the Emperors) father, when 
that father was a royal Ts'in hostage dwelling in the state 
of Chao ; hence the Emperor is often called Chao Cheng 
{Cheng being his personal name). He had thus a double 
claim to the family name of Chao, first because — granting 
his legitimacy — his Ts'in ancestor (also the ancestor of all 
the Chao family) was, during the ninth century B.C., enfeoffed 
in Chao ; and secondly because, when Chao became an 
independent kingdom, he was, during the third century B.C., 
himself born in Chao to a Chao man of a Chao woman. 

A great deal more might of course be said upon the 
subject of names, and of their effect in sometimes obscuring, 
sometimes elucidating, historical facts ; but these few remarks 
will perhaps suffice, at least, to suggest the importance of 
scrutinizing closely the possible bearing of each name upon 
the political events connected with it. 



Mention has been made of eunuchs, a class which seems to 
have originated with the law's severity rather than from a 
callous desire of the rich to secure a craven and helpless 
medium and means for pandering to and enjoying the 
pleasures of the harem without fear of sexual intrigue. 
Criminals whose feet were cut off were usually employed as 
park-keepers simply because there could be no inclination on 
their part to gad about and chase the game. Those who lost 
their noses were employed as isolated frontier pickets, where 
no boys could jeer at them, and where they could better sur- 
vive their misfortune in quiet resignation. Those branded in 
the face were made gate-keepers, so that their livelihood was 
perpetually marked out for them. It is sufficiently obvious 
why the castrated were specially charged with the duty of 
serving females in a menial capacity. One name for eunuch 
is " cleanse man," and it is explained by a very old commen- 
tator that the duty of these functionaries was to sweep and 
cleanse the court ; but it is perhaps as likely that the original 
idea was really " purified man," or man deprived of incentive 
to certain evils. It is often said disparagingly of the Chou 
dynasty that they introduced the effeminate Persian custom of 
keeping eunuchs ; but the Chou family, which was in full 
career before Zoroaster existed, is perhaps entitled to a much 
greater antiquity in civilization than Persia — Cyrus himself 
was a contemporary of Lao-tsz and Confucius — and probably 
the castrated were only utilized as menials because they already 


208 Ancient China Simplified 

were eunuchs by law, and were not made eunuchs against the 
spirit of natural law simply in order that their services as 
menials should be conveniently rendered. 

In 655 B.C. the Tsin ruler despatched a eunuch to try and 
assassinate his half-brother (the future Second Protector of 
China) when in Tartar exile. When the Second Protector in 
636 at last came to his rights as ruler of Tsin, the same eunuch 
offered to commit an assassination in his interest ; arguing, 
by way of justifying his previous attempt, that a servant's 
duty was to serve his de facto master for the time being, and 
not to question de jure claims, which were a matter beyond 
the competence of a menial. In 548 the ruler of Ts'i was 
assassinated by a eunuch who would not even grant his master 
permission to commit suicide decently in the ancestral hall ; 
(see p. 62). A year later, the succeeding ruler under urgent cir- 
cumstances secured the services of a eunuch as coachman. In 
contrast to these traitors, in 481 a faithful eunuch tries to save 
the ruler of Ts'i from assassination by one of the supplanting 
great families : this was the case that so horrified Confucius 
that he died soon after, in despair of ever seeing "divine 
right " regain the upper hand in China. In 544 B.C. the ruler 
of Wei was assassinated by a eunuch door-keeper. In 537 
the King of Ts c u conceived the idea of castrating and cutting 
the feet off the two Tsin envoys for use as a palace gate-keeper 
and for service in his harem ; but he was prudently dis- 
suaded by his chief counsellor from incurring the risks con- 
sequent upon such an international outrage ; (see p. 46). Three 
centuries later, in the year 239, the First August Emperor's 
(real) father, for his own spying purposes, got a sham eunuch 
appointed to a post in the service of the ex-concubine made 
over, as explained in the last chapter, to the First Emperor's 
father ; by the dowager-queen, as she then was, the supposed 
eunuch had two sons. When subsequently this dangerous 
person revolted, the First August Emperor's own real eunuchs 

Ancient China Simplified 209 

took part in opposing his murderous designs. — It must be 
mentioned that this objectionable father of the Emperor was 
himself a very distinguished man notwithstanding, and has left 
a valuable historical and philosophical work of twenty-six 
chapters behind him, put together under his direction by a 
number of clever writers. It is usually considered a Taoist 
work, because it savours in parts of Lao-tsz's doctrine ; but, 
like the works of Hwai-nan-tsz (an imperial prince of the Han 
dynasty 150 years later) it was classified in 50 B.C. as a "mis- 
cellany." — Finally, a eunuch played an important part as 
witness when the Second August Emperor was assassinated. 
Thus all the states — those around the original nucleus of Old 
China at least — employed eunuchs in the royal harems, even 
if the vassal princes of orthodox China as a general rule 
did not. 

It is much the same thing with another disagreeable feature 
in the manners of those times — human sacrifices. Many 
instances have already been given of such practices in the 
state of Ts'in. The tomb of the King of Ts'u who died in 591 
— of that king whose death Confucius condescended to record, 
decently and in ritual terms, because of his many good quali- 
ties — which tomb appears to be still in existence near King- 
chou Fu, is surrounded by ten other smaller tombs, supposed 
so be those of the persons who " followed him to the grave." 
At all events, when in the year 529 a later king of Ts'u hanged 
himself, a faithful follower buried two of his own daughters 
with the royal body. In A.D. 312 the tomb of the first Pro- 
tector, who died in 643 B.C., was opened under circumstances 
so graphically described that there can scarcely be a doubt of 
the substantial truth : the stench was so great that dogs had 
to be sent in first to test the effects of the poisoned atmo- 
sphere ; so many bones were found lying about that there can 
be little doubt many women and concubines were buried with 
him. It is often said by modern writers that it was a general 


210 Ancient China Simplified 

custom to do so all over ancient China, and possibly the fact 
that in the second century B.C. a humane Chinese emperor 
(of Taoist principles) ordered the discontinuance of the prac- 
tice may be thought to give colour to this supposition. But 
it must be remembered that the great house of Han had only 
then recently overthrown the dynasty of Ts'in, and had incor- 
porated nearly the whole of China as we now view it : the 
Emperor would naturally therefore be referring to Ts ( i, Ts'in, 
Ts'u, and possibly also to Wu and Yiieh, three of which states 
had, as we see, once practised this cruel custom. 

Wine, or rather spirit, was known everywhere ; in Confucian 
times the Far West had not yet been discovered, and there 
were neither grapes nor any names for grapes ; no grape wine, 
nor any other fruit wine. Even now, though the Peking grapes 
are as good as English grapes, no one nearer than Shan Shi 
makes wine from them. Spirits seem to have been served from 
remote times at the imperial and princely feasts. Here, once 
more, as with the two vicious practices described, the drunkards 
appear to be found more among those peoples surrounding 
orthodox China than in the ancient nucleus. In 694 B.C., 
when the ruler of Lu was on a visit to his brother-in-law, the 
ruler of Ts'i, whose sister he had married, brother and sister 
had incestuous intercourse ; which being detected, the ruler 
of Ts'i made his Lu brother-in-law drunk, and suborned 
a powerful ruffian to squeeze his ribs as he was assisted into 
his chariot. Thus the Duke Hwan of Lu perished. In 640 B.C., 
as we have seen, when the future Second Protector was dallying 
with his Ts'i wife, it was found by his henchman necessary to 
make him drunk in order to get him away. In 574 a Ts'u 
general was found drunk when sent for by his king to explain 
a defeat by Tsin troops. In 560 the Ts'i envoy — the philo- 
sopher Yen-tsz — was entertained by the Ts'u court at a wine. 
In 531 the ruler of Ts'u first made drunk, and then killed, one 
of the petty rulers of orthodox China. In 537 it had already 

Ancient China Simplified 211 

been explained to the King of Ts'u that on the occasions of 
the triennial visits of vassals to the Emperor (probably only 
theoretical visits at that date) wine was served at long tables 
in full cups, but was only drunk at the proper ritualistic 
moment. Two years after that the King of Ts'u was described 
as being at his wine, and therefore in the proper frame of 
mind to listen to representations. 

In 541 the Ts'u envoy was entertained at a punch d'honneur 
by the Tsin statesmen, one of whom seized the occasion to 
chant one of the Odes warning people against drunkenness. 
It is well known that Confucius enjoyed his dram ; indeed, it 
is said of him : " As to wine, he had no measure, but he did 
not fuddle himself." In the year 506 the ruler of Ts'in is 
described as being a heavy drinker. In 489 a Ts'i councillor 
is described as being drunk. A few years later the ruler of 
Ts'i and his wife are seen drinking together on the verandah, 
and some prisoners escape owing to the gaoler having been 
judiciously plied with drink. 

Meat seems to have been much more generally consumed 
in old China (by those who could afford it) than in modern 
times ; and, as we might expect, among the Tartar infected 
people, horse-flesh in particular. In the second century B.C. 
the question of eating horse-liver is compared by a witty 
Emperor with the danger of revolutionary talk. He said : 
" We may like it, but it is dangerous." (Last year, when in 
Neu Brandenburg, I came across a man whose brother was 
a horse-butcher in Pomerania, and, remembering this imperial 
remark, I asked about horse-liver. The man said he always 
had a feast of horse-liver when he visited his brother, and that 
he much preferred it to cows' liver, or to any other part of the 
horse ; but, he added, " you must be careful about eating it in 
summer.") In 645 Duke Muh of Ts'in was rescued from the 
Tsin troops by what was described to him as a body-guard of 
horse-flesh eaters. It appeared, when he sought for explanation, 

212 Ancient China Simplified 

that the same Ts'in ruler had, some time before, been robbed 
of a horse by some "wild men," who proceeded to cut it 
up and eat it. They were arrested ; but the magnanimous 
duke said : "I am told horse-flesh needs spirits to make it 
digest well," and, instead of punishing them, he gave them a 
keg of liquor, adding: "no sage would ever injure men on 
account of a mere beast." He had forgotten the circumstance, 
but it now transpired that these men had, out of gratitude, 
since then enlisted as soldiers. This story is the more interest- 
ing as it proves how incompletely civilized the neighbourhood 
of Ts'in then was. — Bears' paws are often spoken of as a 
favourite dish. In 626 the King of Ts'u, about to be murdered 
by his son and successor, said : " At least, let me have a bear's 
paw supper before I die." But it takes many hours to cook 
this dish to a turn, and the son easily saw through the paternal 
manoeuvre, pleaded only to gain time. It may be here 
mentioned, too, that Ts'u made regular use of elephants in 
battle, which circumstance is another piece of testimony in 
favour of the Annamese connection of Ts'u. In the Rites 
of Chou, supposed to be the work of the Duke of Chou, 
mention is made of ivory as one of the products of the 
"Jungle province," as then called. In modern times Annam 
has regularly supplied the Peking Government with elephants, 
the skin of which is eaten as a tonic. After the annihilation 
of Wu by Yiieh, the cunning Chinese adviser of Yiieh decided 
£0 retire with his fortune to Ts'i, on the ground that the 
''gQSd sleuth-hound, when there is no more work for him, is 
apt to find his way to the cooking-pot." Dogs (fed up for the 
purpose) are still eaten in some parts of China, and (as we 
ijhall SQC-n see) they were eaten in ancient Yiieh. 


The question of the expedition of the Emperor Muh to the 
West in the year 984 B.C., or during that year and the two 
following, is worthy of further consideration for many reasons ; 
and after all that has been said about the rise of the Chou 
dynasty, the decay of the patriarchal system, the emulous 
ambitions of the vassals, the destruction of the feudal Empire, 
and the substitution of a centralized administration under a 
new dynasty of numbered August Emperors, it will now be 
comparatively easier to understand. 

We have seen that, if any local annals besides those of 
Lu have been in part preserved/those of Ts'in at least were 
deliberately intended by the First August Emperor to be 
wholly preserved, and must therefore hold first rank among 
all the restored vassal annals published by Sz-ma Ts'ien in or 
about 90 B.C. ; and it must be remembered that the original Lu 
annals have perished equally with those of Ts'i, Sung, and 
other important states ; it is only Confucius' " Springs and 
Autumns," — evidently composed from the Lu archives, — that 
have survived. Well, the Ts'in Annals, as given by Sz-ma 
Ts'ien, record that one of the early Ts'in ancestors " was in 
favour with the Emperor Muh on account of his admirable 
skill in manipulating horses " [names of four particularly fine 
horses given]. The Emperor "went west to examine his 
fiefs " ; he was so " charmed with his experiences that he 
forgot the administrative duties which should have called him 
back." Meanwhile, a revolt broke out in East (uncivilized) 


214 Ancient China Simplified 

China, and the manipulator of horses was sent by the Emperor 
back to China at express speed, in order to stave off trouble 
till the Emperor could get back himself. It is also stated of 
him that, in spite of remonstrances, he made extensive war 
upon the Tartars, and that, in consequence, his uncivilized 
vassals ceased to present themselves at court. No other 
mention is made of this expedition by Sz-ma Ts'ien in the 
imperial annals, and, so (apart from the fictitious importance 
afterwards given to the expedition, and especially by European 
investigators in quite recent times), there is really no reason 
to attach any more political weight to it than to the other 
innumerable exploring expeditions of emperors into the 
almost unknown regions surrounding the nucleus of orthodox 
China so often defined in these chapters. We have already 
(page 184) cited the case in which the father and predecessor 
of King Muh had ventured on a tour of inspection as far as 
modern Hankow on the Yang-tsz River, or, as some say, as 
far as some place on the River Han, where he was murdered ; 
in 656 the First Protector raked up this affair against Ts'u, 
whose capital was very near King-chou Fu, above Hankow. 
Finally, scant though Sz-ma Ts'ien's two references to this 
affair may be, they at least agree with each other, i.e. the 
Emperor did actually go to Tartar regions, and a revolt of 
non-Chinese tribes did actually break out in the immediate 

But in A.D. 281 a certain tomb at a place once belonging 
to Wei, but later attached to the kingdom of Ngwei formerly 
part of Tsin, was desecrated by thieves, and, amongst other 
books written in ancient characters found therein (unfortu- 
nately all more or less injured by the rummaging thieves), 
were two of paramount interest. One was an account of, and 
was entirely devoted to, the Emperor Muh's voyage to the 
West ; the other was the Annals of Ngwei (i.e. of that third 
part of old Tsin which in 403 B.C. was formally recognized by 

Ancient China Simplified 215 

the Emperor as the separate state of Ngwei), including those 
of old Tsin, and also what may be termed the general history 
of China, narrated incidentally. These Annals of Tsin or Ngwei 
are usually styled the Bamboo Books, because they were 
written in ink on bamboo tablets strung together at one end 
like a fan or a narrow Venetian blind. They also speak shortly 
of the Emperor Muh's expedition, and thus they also are useful 
for comparing hiatuses, names, faults, and dates ; both in 
general history, and in the account of King Muh's expedition. 
Since the discovery of these old documents (which had been 
buried for well-nigh 600 years, and of which no other record 
whatever had been preserved either in writing or by tradition), 
Chinese literary wonder-mongers have exercised their wits 
upon the task of identifying the unheard-of places mentioned ; 
the more so in that one place, and one king bearing the same 
foreign name as the place — Siwangmu — was so written phone- 
tically that it might mean " Western-King-Mother." They 
endeavoured to show how this and other places might have 
lain in relation to the genuine places discovered by Chinese 
generals after these ancient documents were buried, seven 
centuries after the events recorded therein. Then came the 
foreigner with his Jewish Creation, Confusion of Tongues, 
Accadian and Babylonian origin of all science, etc., etc. Of 
course Marco Polo's adventures at once suggested to the 
European, thus biased, that 3000 years ago the Emperor Muh 
might have found his way to Persia, and might have been 
this or that Babylonian, Egyptian, or Persian hero ; in fact, 
Professor Forke of Berlin even takes his Chinese majesty 
as far as Africa, and introduces him to the Queen of Sheba 
( = Western-King-Mother). 

The distinguished Professor Edouard Chavannes of Paris 
has recently attempted to show, not only that the Emperor 
Muh never got beyond the Tarim (which, indeed, is absolutely 
certain from the text itself), but that it was not the Emperor 

216 Ancient China Simplified 

Muh at all who went, but the semi-Turkish Duke Muh of 
Ts'in, in the seventh century B.C., who made the expedition. 

To begin with, let us see what the expedition purports to 
be. In the first place, the thieves used as torches, or otherwise 
destroyed, the first few pages of the bamboo sheaf book, and 
we do not know, consequently, whence the Emperor started : 
there is much indirect evidence, however, to show that he 
started from some place on the headwaters of the Han River, 
in what must then have been his own territory (South Shen 
Si) ; especially as his three expeditions all ended there. It is 
certain, however, that he had not travelled many days on his 
first journey before he reached a tribe of Tartars very fre- 
quently mentioned in all histories, and bearing the same name 
as the Tartars whom Sz-ma Ts'ien says the Emperor Muh did 
conquer. He crossed the Yellow River on the 169th day, 
came to two rivers, the Redwater (222nd day), and the Black- 
water (248th day), which rivers in after ages have been fre- 
quently mentioned in connection with Tibetan, Turkish, and 
Ouigour wars, and are apparently in the Si-ning and Kan- 
chou Fu, or possibly Kwa Chou regions (cf. p. 68) ; but first he 
passed, after the 170th day, a place called " Piled Stones," a 
name which has never been lost to history, and which corre- 
sponds to Nien-po, between Lan-chou Fu and Si-ning, as 
marked on modern maps. In other words, he went by the 
only high-road there was in existence, and ever since then 
has continued in existence (just traversed by Bruce), leading 
to the Lob Nor region ; whence again he branched off, pre- 
sumably to Turf an, or to Harashar ; thence to Urumtsi, and 
possibly Kuchd, as they are respectively now called ; but on 
the whole it is not likely that he got beyond Harashar and 
Urumtsi. Even 800 years later, when the Chinese had 
thoroughly explored all the west up to the Hindu Kush, 
their expeditions had all to proceed from Lob Nor to Khoten, 
or from Lob Nor (or near it) vid Harashar and Ruche" along 

Ancient China Simplified 217 

the Tarim Valley : it was not for long after the discovery of 
these routes that the later Chinese discovered the northerly 
Hami route, and the possibility of avoiding Lob Nor alto- 
gether. His charioteer is said in this account to have been 
a man (named) whose name is exactly the name, written in 
exactly the same way, as the name of the ancestor of Ts'in, 
who, Sz-ma Ts'ien tells us, actually was the charioteer of the 
Emperor when he marched forth against the Tartars, and who 
hurried back to China when the revolts broke out owing to the 
Emperor's absence. As the Emperor received, from various 
princes, presents of wine, silk, and rice, it is almost certain 
that he must have avoided bleak, out-of-the-way places, and 
have made for the productive regions of Harashar, Turfan, 
and possibly Kuche\ any or all three of these. With a little 
more care and patience we may yet succeed in identifying, 
and by the same names, several more of the places mentioned 
by the old chronicler. In about ten months (286 days from 
the first day already mentioned, and 1 17 days out from " Piled 
Stones ") he reached Siwangmu. This is not at all unlikely 
to be Urumtsi, or a place near it, possibly Ku-ch'eng or 
Gutchen, because Siwangmu (also the name of the king of 
that place), gave him a feast on a certain lake, which lake, 
written in exactly the same way, became the name of a quite 
new district in 653 A.D., when it was abolished ; and that 
district was at or near Urumtsi ; the presumption being that, in 
the seventh century A.D., it was so named on account of old 
traditions, then well known. Roughly speaking, it took the 
Emperor 300 days to go, and a second 300 to get back ; 
stoppages, feasts, functions, all included. The total distance 
travelled, as specified from chief station to chief station, is 
13,300 li (say 4000 miles) to Siwangmu and to the hunting 
grounds near but beyond it. When 200 days out he came 
to the place where his feet were washed with kumiss ; this 
place is frequently mentioned in history; even Confucius 

218 Ancient China Simplified 

names it, as one of the northernmost conquests of the Chou 
dynasty. The only doubt is whether it is near Lan-chou Fu 
in Kan Suh province, or near the northern bend of the Yellow 
River. The journey back was hurried and shorter (as we 
might well suppose from Sz-ma Ts'ien's accounts above given), 
that is to say, only 10,000 //. But the total for the whole 
double journey of 660 days in all, including all by-trips, 
excursions, and hunts, was 38,000 //, or about 12,000 miles — 
say 20 miles a day. I have myself travelled several thousand 
miles in China and Tartary, always at the maximum rate of 
30 miles a day ; more usually 20, allowing for delays, bad roads, 
and accidents. In Dr. Legge's translation of the " Book of 
Odes," p. 281, there is a song about a great expedition 
against the Tartars in 827 B.C., one line of which is precisely, 
as translated by Dr. Legge : " and we marched thirty li every 
day," — which means only ten miles. 

This is the chief journey ; and whether the Chou Emperor 
in 984 B.C., or the Ts'in Duke in 650 B.C., made it, there 
are really no difficulties, no contradictions. Four important 
places at least are named which are known by exactly 
the same names, and are frequently mentioned, in very 
much later history. The Emperor had hundreds of carts 
or chariots with him, and we have seen that these were 
a special feature of orthodox China. He came across a 
huge moulting-ground of birds in the desert regions, and 
the later Chinese very frequently speak of it in Tartar- 
land. Being caught in the waterless desert, he had to cut 
the throats of some of his best horses and drink their warm 
blood : two friends of my own, travelling through Siberia 
and Mongolia, were only too glad, when nearly starving from 
cold, to cut a sheep's throat and drink its warm blood from 
the newly-gashed throat itself. Fattening up horses for food 
is mentioned, and washing the feet with kumiss — both 
incidents purely Tartar. " Cattle," distinct from horses and 

Ancient China Simplified 219 

oxen, are alluded to — probably camels, for which no Chinese 
word existed until about the time of our era. 

The second and third journeys, which occupied another 600 
days between them, both ended at, and therefore it is assumed 
began at, the same place as the first journey's terminus ; that is, 
at a place marked on modern maps as Pao-ch'eng, on the Upper 
Han River. In later times it belonged to the semi-Chinese 
kingdoms of Shuh and Ts'u in turn. One of these narratives 
is taken up with a description of the Emperor's infatuation for 
a clever wizard from a far country, and of his liaison with a girl 
bearing his own clan-name, who died about two months before 
he reached home, and was buried on the road with great pomp. 
These two later journeys have no geographical value at all ; but 
as the Emperor in each case again crossed the Yellow River, it 
is plain that he was amusing himself somewhere along the main 
Tartar roads, as in the first case. 

It may be added that the Taoist author Lieh-tsz, in his third 
chapter, repeats the story of the magician, who, he says, came 
from the " Extreme West Country." He also explains that it * S* Z 
was through listening to this man's wonderful tales that the 
Emperor " neglected state affairs, and abandoned himself to 
the delights of travel," — thus anticipating by three centuries the 
language of Sz-ma Ts'ien in 90 B.C. The story of the par- 
ticular tribe of Tartars (named with the same sounds, but not 
with the same characters) who washed the Emperor's feet with 
kumiss is also told by Lieh-tsz. The position of the Red- 
water River is defined, to which textual remarks the commen- 
tators add more about the River Blackwater. Curiously 
enough, in himself commenting upon the Emperor Muh's 
conversations with the chieftain of Siwangniu> Lieh-tsz men- 
tions the traditional departure, west, of the philosopher Lao-tsz, 
his own master. 

Now, although there is considerable doubt as to the author- 
ship, date, and genuineness of Lieh-tsz's book, which at any 

220 Ancient China Simplified 

rate was well known to Chinese bibliophiles long before our 
era, the fact that it mentions and repeats even part of the 
Emperor Muh's travels 600 years before the ancient book 
describing those travels was found, proves that the manipula- 
tors of the ancient book thus found did not invent the whole 
story after our era. It also seems to prove that in Lieh-tsz's 
time (i.e. immediately after Confucius) the story was already 
known (and probably the book of travels too), Confucius him- 
self having mentioned one of the tribes visited by the Emperor. 
The Bamboo Books bring history down to 299 B.C., and were 
found, together with the travels of the Emperor Muh, in A.D. 281. 
The Bamboo Books not only support part of the story of the 
Emperor Muh's travels, but their accuracy in dates has been 
shown by Professor Chavannes to strengthen the credibility of 
Confucius' own history: a reference to Chapter XXXII. on 
the Calendar will explain what is meant by " accuracy in dates." 
Finally, we have Sz-ma Ts'ien's history of 90 B.C., citing the 
Chou Annals and the Ts'in Annals, or what survived of them 
after incessant wars between 400 and 200 B.C., and after the 
destruction of literature in 213 B.C. 

This point settled, the next thing is to consider Professor 
Chavannes* reasons for supposing that Duke Muh of Ts'in 
(650 B.C.) and not the Emperor Muh of Chou (984 B.C.) was 
the real traveller : — 

1. He shows that the ruling princes of Ts'in and Chao 
hailed from the same ancestors, were contiguous states, and, 
besides being largely Tartar themselves, ruled all the Tartars 
along the (present) Great Wall line : also that the naming of 
individual horses and other features of the Emperor's travels 
recalls features 'equally prominent in later Turkish history. 
This is all undoubtedly true : compare page 206. 

2. He shows that the Duke Muh's chief claim to glory was 
his successes against the Tartars of the West. This is also 
quite certain. 

Ancient China Simplified 221 

3. He thinks that in 984 B.C. the literary capacity of China 
was not equal to the composition of such a sustained work as 
the Travels. 

4. He also thinks that the real Chinese found, in Ts'in the 
traditions relating to Duke Muh, and then, for the glory of 
China, appropriated them to the Emperor Muh, and foisted 
them upon orthodox history. 

There is a great deal to be said for this view, which has, 
besides, many other minor points of detail in its favour. But 
it may be answered : — 

1. Chou itself was in the eyes of China proper, once a 
" barbarian " tribe of the west, as the founder of the Chou 
dynasty in 1 122 B.C. himself showed when he addressed his 
neighbours and allies, the eight other states of the west, and 
exhorted them, as equals, to assist him in the conquest of 
China. It was only in 771 B.C. that the original Chou 
appanage (since 1122 the western half of the imperial 
appanage) had been ceded to Ts'in, which in 984 was a petty 
state, still of the " adjunct-function " {cf. page 144) type, and 
not " sovereign." In 984 there was no intermediate sovereign 
" power " between the Emperor and the Tartars, with whom, 
in fact, he had been directly engaged in war independently 
of Ts'in. He was as much under Tartar social influences 
as was Ts'in : in fact, the Chou principality, under the Shang 
dynasty, was a sort of first edition of Ts'in principality 
under the Chou dynasty. Just as in 1122 B.C. Chou ousted 
Shang as the imperial house, so in 221 B.C. Ts'in definitely 
replaced Chou. 

2. If Duke Muh distinguished himself by Tartar conquests, 
so did the Emperor Muh before him, and the authorities are 
all agreed on this point. 

3. If in 984 B.C. the long-standing orthodox Chinese 
literary capacity was unequal to this effort, how is it that 
semi-barbarous Ts'in, the least literary of all the states (not 

222 Ancient China Simplified 

only Chinese, but also half-Chinese), into which state records 
had only been introduced at all in 753 B.C., was able to 
compose such a book ; or, if not to write the book, then to 
dictate so sustained and connected a story ? Besides, the 
Emperor Muh left several inscriptions carved on stone during 
the progress of his travels. 

4. The instances M. Chavannes cites of the tombs of Yii 
and Shun in South China, as being parallel instances of 
appropriation by orthodox Chinese of semi-Chinese traditions 
have already been put to quite another use above, as tending 
to show, on the contrary, that those two Emperors either 
came from the south, or had ancestral traditions in the 
south ; (see pp. 138, 191). 

5. Finally, about a third of the Travels is taken up with a 
description of the incestuous intrigue with Lady Kt, and of 
her sumptuous ritual funeral. Why should Duke Muh trouble 
himself about the rites due to members of the Ki family, 
to which the Emperor belonged, but he himself did not ? Why 
should the warlike Duke Muh (who had just then been 
recommended by an adviser (an ex-Chinese, since become 
a Tartar) to adopt simple Tartar ways instead of worrying 
himself with the Odes and the Book "as the Chinese did") 
waste his time in pomp and ritual ? (seep. 180). Again, when, 
as the Travels tell us, various vassal rulers from orthodox 
China (even so far as Shan Tung in the extreme east) 
arrived to pay their respects to the Emperor as their liege- 
lord, how is it possible to suppose that these orthodox counts 
and barons would come to pay court to a semi-barbarian 
count (for that was all he was) like Duke Muh (as he is 
posthumously called), one of their equals, a man who took 
no part in the durbar affairs, and who, on account of his 
human sacrifices, was not even thought fit to become an 
emergency Protector of China ? What could the semi-Tartar 
ruler of Ts'in have known of all these wearisome refinements 

Ancient China Simplified 223 

in pomp, mourning, and music ? Once more, the place the 
Emperor started from and came back to, though part of his 
appanage in 984 B.C. and possessing an ancestral Chou 
temple, was not part of the Ts'in dominions in 650 B.C., 
and never possessed a Ts'in temple : if not independent, it 
was at that time a bone of contention between Ts'in and 
Ts'u, and by no means a safe place for equipping pleasure 
expeditions. Finally, if it is marvellous that the Chou 
Annals of Sz-ma Ts'ien do not give full details of the 
voyage, is it not at least equally marvellous that the Ts'in 
Annals should not mention it in 650 B.C., when M. Chavannes 
supposes it took place, whilst they do so mention it under 
984 B.C., when he thinks it did not take place ? All accounts 
agree that the ancestor of Ts'in (named) was there with the 
Emperor as charioteer ; he was, as we have seen, equally 
ancestor of Chao, and the Chao Annals of Sz-ma Ts'ien say 
exactly what the Ts'in Annals say. 

Hence we may gratefully accept Professor Chavannes' 
most illuminating proofs, so far as they tend to show that the 
Travels of the Emperor Muh are genuine history for a tour no 
farther than the middle Tarim Valley ; but, so far as Duke 
Muh of Ts'in is concerned, he must be eliminated from all 
consideration of the matter, and we must ascribe the tour, as 
the Chinese do, to the Emperor Muh. Lastly, are there any 
Proved instances of such radical tamperings with history by 
the Chinese annalists as M. Chavannes suggests ? I do not 
know of any ; and such superficial tamperings as there are 
the Chinese critics always expose, cofite que codte, even though 
Confucius himself be the tamperer. 



The development of China is not only elucidated by docu- 
ments and events probably antecedent to the strictly historical 
period, such as the supposed voyage of an Emperor to the Far 
West, but it is also made easier to understand when we con- 
sider its possible indirect effects upon Japan. The barbarian 
kingdom of Wu does not really appear in Chinese history at 
all, even by name, until the year 585 B.C. It was found then 
that it had traditions of its own, and a line of kings extending 
back to the beginning of the Chou dynasty (11 22 B.C.), and 
even farther beyond. In 585 B.C. the new King, Shou-meng, 
hitherto an unknown and obscure vassal of Ts'u, altogether 
beyond the ken of orthodox China, felt quite strong enough, 
as we have seen in Chapter VII., to strike out an independent 
line of his own. It is a singular thing that, when the Japanese 
set about constructing a nomenclature (on Chinese posthumous 
lines) for their newly discovered back history in the eighth 
century A.D., they should have fixed upon exactly this year 
585 B.C. for the death of their supposed first Mikado Jimmu 
(i.e. Shen-wu y the " divinely martial "). The next three Kings 
of Wu, all of whom, like himself, bore dissyllabic and meaning- 
less barbarian names, were sons of Shou-meng, and a fourth son 
was the cultured Ki-chah, who visited orthodox China several 
times, both as a spy and in order to improve himself. Then 
follow two sons of the last and first, respectively, of the said 
three brothers. The second of these royal cousins was killed in 
battle, and his son Fu-ch'ai vowed a terrible vengeance against 


Ancient China Simplified 225 

Ts'u, whose capital he subsequently took and sacked in 506 
B.C. Now appears upon the scene his own vassal, Ylieh, and 
at first Wu gets the best of it in battle. Bloodthirsty wars 
follow between the two, full of picturesque and convincing 
detail, until at last the King of Yiieh, in turn, has the King of 
Wu at his mercy ; but he was, though a barbarian, magnani- 
mously disposed, and accordingly he offered Fu-ch'ai the island 
of Chusan (so well known to us on account of our troops 
having occupied it in 1840) and three hundred married 
families to keep him company. But Fu-ch'ai was too proud 
to accept this Elba, the more especially so because he had it 
on his conscience that he had been acting throughout against 
the earnest advice of his faithful minister (a Ts'u renegade), 
whom he had put to death for his frankness. This adviser as 
he perished had cried out : " Don't forget to pluck my eyes 
out and stick them on the east gate, so that I may witness 
the entry of the Yiieh troops!" He therefore committed 
suicide, first veiling his face because, as he said : " I have no 
face to offer my adviser when I meet him in the next world ; 
if, on the other hand, the dead have no knowledge, then it 
does not matter what I do." After the beginning of our 
Christian era, when the direct communication between Japan 
(overland vid Corea) and China (also by sea to Wu) was first 
officially noticed by the historians, it was recorded by the 
Chinese annalists that part of Fu-ch'ai's personal following had 
escaped in ships towards the east, and had founded a state in 
Japan. But it must not be forgotten that then (473 B.C.) 
orthodox China had never yet heard of Japan in any form, 
though of course it is possible that the maritime states of Wu 
and Yiieh may have had junk intercourse with many islands 
in the Pacific. 

We have already ventured upon a few remarks upon this 
subject in Chapter XXI II., but so much is apt to be made 
out of slight historical materials — such, for instance, as the 


226 Ancient China Simplified 

pleasure expedition of a Chinese emperor in 984 B.C. to the 
Tarim Valley — that it may be useful to suggest the true pro- 
portions, and the modest possible bearing of this " Japanese " 
migration — assuming the slender record of it to be true ; and 
the basis of truth is by no means a broad one ; still less is it 
capable of sustaining a heavy superstructure. 

Any one visiting Japan will notice that there are several 
distinct types of men in that country, the squat and vulgar, 
the oval-faced and refined, and many variations of these two ; 
just as, in England, we have the Norman, Saxon, Irish, and 
Scotch types of face, with many other nuances. It is also clear 
from the kitchen-midden and other prehistoric remains ; from 
the presence, even now, in Japan of the bearded Ainus (a word 
meaning in their own language " men ") ; and from the 
numerous accounts of Ainu-Japanese wars in both Chinese 
and Japanese history, that there were (as there still are) 
manners, and possibly yet other men, in ancient Japan, both 
very different from the manners and appearance of the 
cultured and gifted race, viewed as a homogeneous whole, 
we are now so proud to have as our political allies. But 
that brings us no nearer a historical solution. It is a per- 
sistent way with all ethnologists to search out whence this 
or that race came. Of course all races move and mingle, 
and must always have moved and mingled, when by so doing 
they could better their circumstances of life ; but even if 
movement has taken place in Japan as it has elsewhere, there 
is no reason why, if comparatively uncivilized Japanese dis- 
placed Ainus, Ainus should not have, before that, displaced 
quite uncivilized Japanese ; or, if other races came over the 
seas to displace the people already there, the natives already 
there should not have, later on, ejected these new-comers by 
sea routes. 

In other words, it is quite futile (unless we can lay hands 
on definite objects, or definite facts recorded — even definite 

Ancient China Simplified 227 

traditions) to try and account for hypothetical movements in 
prehistoric times. We are totally ignorant of early Teutonic, 
Hungarian, and Celtic movements — though, thanks solely to 
Chinese records, we are pretty certain, within defined limits, 
about early Turkish movements. How much more, then, 
must we be ignorant about the Japanese movements ? If 
11 people " must have come from somewhere, whence did these 
arrivals start, and why should they not go back ; or why not 
meet other movers going to the place whence they themselves 
started ? If we are to accept the only historical records or 
quasi-records we possess at all, that is, the Chinese records, 
then we must accept them for what they are worth on the 
face of them, and neither add to nor mutilate them ; imperfect 
things that do exist are necessarily better than imaginary 
things that might have existed in their place. A few hundred 
families at most, we are told, escaped ; and if it be true that 
they went intentionally to Japan, it is probable that the 
expert Wu sailors (none existed elsewhere in China) had 
already for long known the way thither, or to Quelpaert and 
Tsushima, which practically means to both Corea and Japan ; 
in fact, if they sailed east from Ningpo, there is no other 
place to knock up against, even if the special intention were 
not there. Everything tends to show that Fu-ch'ai, though 
perhaps a barbarian in 473 B.C., was of orthodox if remote 
pedigree dating from 1200 B.C., and that the ruling class of 
Wu was very different from the " barbarians " by whom (as 
we are specifically told) Wu was surrounded ; the situation was 
like that of the Egyptians and Phoenicians, like Cecrops and 
Cadmus, amongst the earliest barbarous Greeks. It amounts, 
then, to this, that, just as Chinese colonies and adventurers 
emerged under the stress of increased population, or under 
the impulses of curiosity, tyranny, and ambition, to found 
states in Ts'u, Ts'in, Tsin, Ts'i, Lu, Wu, Yiieh, and other 
places round the central nucleus, so (they being the sole 

228 Ancient China Simplified 

possessors of that magic power, " records ") other parties would 
from time to time sally forth either from the same orthodox 
centre, or from the semi-orthodox places surrounding 
that centre, to still remoter spots, such as, for instance, 
Corea, Japan, Formosa, Annam, Burma, Tibet, and Yiin 
Nan. Fu-ch'ai's surviving friends had indeed a very lively 
stimulus indeed — the fear of instant death — to drive them 
tumultuously over the seas ; and doubtless, as they must have 
been perfectly harmless after tossing about hungry in open 
boats for weeks together, they would be as welcome to the 
Japanese king, or to the petty chief or chiefs who received the 
waifs, as in our own times was the honest sailor Will Adams 
when he drifted friendless to Japan, and whose statue now 
adorns a great Japanese city as that of a man who was, in a 
humble way, also a " civilizer " of Japan (1600 a.d.). Doubtless, 
many Wu words, or Chinese words as then pronounced in Wu, 
had already been brought over by fishermen ; but here at last 
was a great haul of (possibly) books and the way to interpret 
them ; at least there was a great haul of the best class of the 
Wu ruling folk. It is true that the first Japanese envoys who 
came to China made as much of their Wu " origin " as they 
could ; firstly, because it probably paid them as traders to do 
so ; secondly, because it necessarily gave them a respectable 
status in China ; and, thirdly, because they were, in the first 
century of our era, gradually beginning to understand the 
mystic power of the Chinese written character, and they would 
therefore naturally take an intense interest in all records, 
rumours, traditions, and fables about themselves, which they 
would embellish and "confirm" whenever it suited their 
interests to do so. Which of us does not begin to furbish up 
his pedigree when he is made a peer of the realm ? 

As to the bulk of the Japanese race, be it mixed or un- 
mixed, it is surely in the main to be found now where it 
always was, or close by ? It is no more depreciating to early 

Ancient China Simplified 229 

Japan to give her a dynasty of Chinese adventurers, or per- 
haps to give her only hereditary Chinese advisers and scribes, 
than it is derogatory to the states of Europe to possess 
dynasties which belong by their origin, as a general rule, to 
almost any place but the countries they now govern as 
sovereigns. As to the ancient chiefs or kings of Japan, some 
of their genuine native names may have been preserved in the 
memories of men ; whether they were or not, they were, even 
without records, as " ancient " chiefs as the best recorded chiefs 
of Egypt, Babylonia, or China ; and it must be remembered 
that Egyptian and Babylonian records were non-existent to 
us for all practical purposes during many thousands of years, 
until we recently discovered how to read them : that is to say, 
what was once no history at all — the present condition of the 
prehistoric races of High Asia — suddenly becomes history 
when we find the records and know how to read them. 

When, a few centuries later on, the Japanese had begun 
thoroughly to understand Chinese books, they decided to have 
an historical outfit of their own ; they took what vague tra- 
ditions they had, and, in the absence of any long-forgotten 
genuine records, or visible remains having part of the 
effect of records, simply fitted on to their heroes, real or 
imaginary, the Chinese posthumous system, and a selection 
of the historical facts recorded about the Chinese. Even the 
Emperor Muh in China was not so named until he died. If 
a man can be given a complimentary title three years after 
death (that was the Chinese rule at first), why not give it him 
300 years after his death ? The king or chief hitherto known, 
whether accurately or not, whether honestly or not, as X, had 
most certainly existed ; that is, the tenth great-grandfather of 
the reigning prince ; the ninth, eighth, and so on ; must posi- 
tively have been there at some remote period of the past. By 
calling him Jimmu (a Chinese emperor had already been 
posthumously so called) he is none the less there than he was 

230 Ancient China Simplified 

before he was called Jimmu, and his new title therefore does 
not make him less of an entity than he was before. And so 
on with all the other Japanese emperors who, in the eighth 
century A.D., were similarly provided with imaginary names. 
Possibly this is how the Japanese argued with themselves 
when they set about the task. The situation is a curious one, 
and perhaps unique in the world ; but it does not matter 
much (as suggested in Chapter XXXI.) so long as we keep 
imagination separate from real evidence. 


We propose to say a few words now about peculiar customs 
which had vogue all over or in certain parts of China; of 
course some of them may be traced back to the "Rites of 
Chou," and to what is prescribed therein ; but general adminis- 
trative schemes representing in general terms things as they 
ought to be, or as the Chou federal and feudal oligarchy would 
have liked them to be, do not give us such a life-like picture 
of ancient China as specific accounts of definite events which 
really did happen. Take, for instance, the peculiar formalities 
connected with abject surrender. 

After a great defeat in 699 B.C., just when Ts'u was 
beginning to emerge from its narrow confines between the 
Han and Yang-tsz Rivers, the defeated Ts'u generals had 
themselves bound in fetters, or with ropes, in order to await 
their king's pleasure. In 654, when Ts'u had one of the 
small orthodox states (in the Ho Nan nucleus) at its mercy, 
the baron presented himself with his hands tied behind, a 
piece of jade in his mouth, followed by his suite in mourning, 
carrying his coffin. It is evident that at this date Ts'u was 
still " barbarous," for the king had to ask what it all meant. 
It was explained to him that, when the Chou founder con- 
quered China, and mutilated the last Shang dynasty emperor, 
that emperor's elder brother by an inferior mother had pre- 
sented himself before the founder half naked, with his hands 
tied behind his back, his left hand leading a ram (or goat), and 
his right carrying sedge for wrapping round the sacrificial 


232 Ancient China Simplified 

victim ; he was enfeoffed as Duke of Sung. In 537 the same 
thing happened to a later King of Ts'u in connection with 
another petty principality, and the king had to be reminded 
of the 654 precedent. Thus there must have been records 
of some kind in Ts'u at an early date. In 645 B.C., when the 
ruler of Ts'in took prisoner his brother-in-law, the ruler of 
Tsin, and was seriously contemplating the annexation of 
Tsin, together with the duty of discharging Tsin sacrifices, 
his own sister, with bare feet, wearing mourning, and bound 
with a mourning belt, intercedes successfully for her husband. 
In 597 B.C. the ruler of the important orthodox state of Cheng 
went through the form of dragging along, with the upper part 
of his own body uncovered, a ram or goat into the presence of 
the King of Ts'u. In 511, when the ruler of Lu had to fly the 
country and throw himself upon the generosity of Tsin, in order 
to escape from the dangerous machinations of the intriguing 
great families of Lu, the six Tsin statesmen (who were them- 
selves at that moment, as heads of great private clans, gradually 
undermining their own prince's rights) sent for the arch- 
intriguer, and called upon him to explain his conduct. At 
that time Lu was coquetting between its two powerful 
neighbours, Tsin and Ts'i. The conspirator duly presented 
himself before the Areopagus of Tsin grandees, barefoot and 
attired in common cloth {i.e. not of silk, but of hemp), in 
order to explain to them the circumstances of the duke's 
exile : it is characteristic of the times, and also of the frank- 
ness of history, to find it added that he succeeded in bribing 
the grandees to give an unjust decision. When the Kings 
of Yiieh and Wu were in turn at each other's mercy, in 494 
and 473 respectively, their envoys, in offering submission, in 
each case advanced to the conqueror " walking on the knees," 
with bust bared : this knee-walking suggests Annamese, 
Siamese, and possibly Japanese forms rather than Chinese. 
The Wu servants at dinner are said to have "waited" on 

Ancient China Simplified 233 

their knees. The third and last August Emperor in 207 
submitted to the conquering Han dynasty seated in an un- 
adorned chariot, drawn by a white horse (with signs of 
mourning), carrying his seal-sash round his neck (figurative of 
hanging or strangling himself), and offered the seals of the 
Son of Heaven to the Prince of Han. 

Something has already been said about the rules of 
succession in Ts'u and Ts'in. When the Duke of Sung just 
mentioned died, in 1078 B.C., he was succeeded by his younger 
brother because his own son was dead ; this was in accordance 
with the Shang dynasty's ritual laws. Even the Warrior 
King himself, founder of the Chou dynasty, was not the 
eldest son of his father, the (posthumously) Civilian King ; the 
latter had set aside the elder of the two sons ; and it will 
be remembered that, several generations before that, two 
of the royal Chou brothers had voluntarily retired to colonize 
the Wu Jungle country, in order that their younger brother, 
father of the future Civilian King, might succeed to the then 
extremely limited vassal state of Chou. Later on, in 729, a 
Duke of Sung on his death-bed bequeathed the succession 
to his younger brother instead of to his own son, on the 
ground that the rule is, "son to father, younger to elder 
brother" — a "universal rule" approved by Mencius in later 
times. The younger brother in this case thrice refused the 
kingly crown, but at last accepted, and Confucius in his 
history censures the act, which, it is considered, contributed 
to Sung's ultimate downfall. (It must be remembered that 
Confucius' ancestors were themselves of royal Sung ex- 
traction.) In 652 the younger brother by the superior spouse 
wished, at his father's death-bed, to cede his right to the 
succession of Sung to his elder brother by an inferior wife ; 
the dying father commended the spirit, but forbade the 
proposed sacrifice of prior right, and the elder therefore served 
the younger as counsellor. In 493 a Duke of Sung, irritated 

234 Ancient China Simplified 

on account of his eldest son having left the country, nominated 
a younger son as successor, and after his death his wife 
confirmed by decree her late husband's nomination ; but 
the younger brother firmly declined, on the ground that 
the rule of succession was a fixed one, and that he was un- 
worthy to perform the sacrifices to the gods of the land and 
grain. It is a curious coincidence that the question of status 
in wives affects the present rulers of both China and Japan. 
Though the dowager was Empress-Mother, she always ceded 
the pas to the senior dowager, who had no children. And 
as to the Mikado's mother, who died last October, she was, 
it seems, never officially considered as an Empress. 

In 817 B.C. the Emperor himself is censured by history for 
having, " contrary to rule," wished to set up as ruler of Lu a 
second son in preference to the elder son ; he repeated the act 
in 796, as has already been explained in Chapter XX., p. no, 
when a few other instances were cited to illustrate the general 
rule in China. At this time the waning power of the emperors 
still evidently flickered. In 608, through the meddlesome 
political interference of Ts'i, a concubine's son succeeded to 
the Lu throne in preference to the legitimate wife's son ; 
curiously enough, the legitimate wife was a Ts'i princess. The 
result of this irregularity was that the " three powerful families " 
of Lu (themselves descendants of the ruling family) grew 
restless, and the state began to decline. On the death of a 
King of Ts'u in 516, it was proposed to put on the throne, 
instead of the king's young son, the king's younger brother by 
an inferior mother, on the ground that the mother of the young 
son in question was the wife obtained from Ts'in by the king for 
marriage to his eldest son (who had since joined the king's 
enemies), which young lady the king had subsequently decided 
to marry himself. Even under this irregular and complicated 
family tangle, the proposed succession was disapproved by 
the counsellors, on the ground that irregular successions 

Ancient China Simplified 235 

invariably produced trouble in the state. In the year 450 B.C. 
the ruler of Ts'i insisted, against advice, on the succession of a 
younger son by a favourite concubine in preference to his 
elder sons by superior mothers, including the first and most 
dignified spouse. But here, again, the powerful families 
intervened ; one of the elder sons, who had fled to Lu, was 
brought back secretly in a sack ; the wrongful successor was 
murdered, and the " powerful family " which took the lead in 
state affairs soon afterwards, to the horror of Confucius, by 
intrigue and by further assassination, secured the Ts c i throne 
for itself. It will thus be noticed that all the great states 
except Ts'in had their full share of succession troubles. 

There were several customs practised in warfare which are 

worthy of short notice. In 633 B.C. a Ts'u general, in the 

interests of discipline, flogged several military men, and " had 

the ears of others pierced by arrows, according to military 

regulation." In 639 this same king had sent as a present to 

some princesses of other states, who had congratulated him 

on his victory over Sung, "a pile of the enemy's left ears." 

As the historians express their disgust at this indelicate act, 

it was presumably not an orthodox practice, at all events in 

this particular form. In 607 there were captured from Sung 

450 war-chariots and 250 soldiers ; the latter had their left 

ears cut off ; in this case the victors were Cheng troops, acting 

under Ts'u's orders, and it is presumed that Cheng officers cut 

off the ears under Ts'u's commands. A few years later two or 

three Ts'u generals were discussing what the ancients did 

when they challenged for a battle ; it was decided that the 

best " form " was to rush up to the entrenchments, cut off an 

enemy's left ear, carry him away in your chariot, and rush 

back to your own camp. As there is a special Chinese 

character or pictograph for " ears cut off in battle," it thus 

appears that to a certain extent even the orthodox Chinese 

practised the " scalping " art, which was doubtless intended to 


Ancient China Simplified 

furnish easy proof of claims for reward based upon prowess ; 
in fact, even in modern official Chinese, a decapitated head is 
called a " head-step," an expression evidently dating from the 
time when a step in rank was given for each head or group of 
heads taken. 

Rulers, whether the Emperor or vassals, faced south in the 
exercise of their sovereign powers. Thus, when the Duke of 
Chou, after the death of his brother the Martial King, acted 
as Regent pending the minority of the Martial King's son, his 
own nephew, he faced south ; but he faced north once more 
when he resumed his status of subject. It has already been 
mentioned, in Chapter XX., that in 640 B.C. the state of Lu 
made the south gate of the Lu capital the Law Gate, because 
it was by the south gates that all rulers' commands emanated. 
In 546 a counsellor of Ts'u explained to the king how, since 
Tsin influence had predominated in the orthodox state of 
Cheng, this last had ceased to " face south towards its former 
protector." Thus, though the Emperor faces south towards 
the sun, and his subjects in turn face north in his honour, 
those subjects face their other protector in whatever direction 
he may lie, supposing the Emperor's protection to be in- 
adequate. It is evidently the same principle as "bowing 
towards the east," and " turning towards Mecca," both of which 
formalities must be modified according to place. In 315 B.C., 
when Yen (the Peking plain) had become one of the six 
independent kingdoms, a usurper (to whom the King of Yen 
had foolishly committed full powers) " turned south " to 
perform acts of sovereignty in the king's name. In 700 B.C., 
in the orthodox state of Wei, we hear of " princes of the left 
and right," which is explained to mean " sons of mothers whose 
official place is left or right of the principal spouse." Right 
used to be more honourable than left in China, but left 
now takes precedence of right. Thus the provinces of Shan 
Tung and Shan Si are also called M Left of the Mountains " 

Ancient China Simplified 237 

and " Right of the Mountains," because the Emperor faces 
south. Notwithstanding, the ancient phraseology sometimes 
survives ; for instance, " stands right of him " means " is better 
than he is," and " to left him " means " to prove him wrong or 
worse." All yamins in China face south ; there are rare 
exceptions, usually owing to building difficulties. Once, in the 
province of Kwei Chou, I was officially invited by the mandarin 
to take my seat on his right instead of on his left, because, as 
he explained, his yamen door did not face south, but west ; 
and, he added, it was more honourable for me, as an official 
guest, to sit north, facing west, than to sit south, facing west. 
In Canton, the Viceroy used out of courtesy to sit south, 
facing north, and make his own interpreter sit north, facing 
south ; the consul sat east, facing west, and the consul's 
interpreter sat west, facing east. But the consul could not 
have presumed to occupy the north seat thus given to an 
inferior on the principle of de minimis non curat lex; nor was 
the Viceroy willing to assert his " command " to a guest. In 
436 the armies of Yiieh marching north through Ho Nan 
called the Chinese places lying to their west the " left " towns ; 
but that was perhaps because Yiieh came marching from the 
south. In 221 B.C., when for the first time South China to the 
sea became part of the imperial dominions, the Emperor's 
territory was described as extending southward to the " north- 
facing houses." Hong Kong and Canton are just on the 
tropical line ; but the island of Hainan, and also Tonquin, are 
actually in the tropics. Whether the houses there do really 
face north — which I have never noticed — or whether the 
expression is merely symbolical, I cannot say ; but the idea is 
" to the regions where, when the sun is on the tropic, you have 
to turn north to see him." 

A point of honour in China was not to make war on an 
enemy who was in mourning, but this rule seems to have been 
honoured in the breach as much as in the observance thereof. 

238 Ancient China Simplified 

Two centuries before the Chou dynasty came into power, an 
emperor of the Shang dynasty distinguished himself by not 
speaking at all during the three years he occupied the mourn- 
ing hut near the grave. As we have seen, the first rulers of 
Lu (as a Chou fief) modified existing customs, and introduced 
the three years* mourning rule there. In connection with a 
Sung funeral in 651 B.C., it is explained that the bier lay 
between the two front pillars, and not, as with the Chou 
dynasty, on the top of the west side steps ; it will be remem- 
bered that Sung represented the sacrifices of the extinct Shang 
dynasty. That same year the future Second Protector (then 
a refugee among the Tartars) declined to put in a claim to the 
Tsin succession against his brothers " because he had not been 
in mourning whilst a fugitive." In 642 Sung and her allies 
made war on Ts'i, which was then mourning for the First 
Protector ; by a just Nemesis the Tartars came to the rescue 
and saved Ts'i. In 627, after the Second Protector's death, 
Ts'in declared war, whilst Tsin was mourning, upon a petty 
orthodox principality belonging to the same clan as Tsin and 
the Emperor, and belonging also to the Tsin vassal system. 
This so enraged the new ruler of Tsin that he dyed his white 
mourning clothes black, so as to avenge the insult, and yet 
not to outrage the rites : moreover, white was unlucky in 
warfare : victorious over Ts'in, he then proceeded to mourn 
for his father, and ever after that black was adopted, by way 
of memento, as the national colour of Tsin. In 626 and 622 
the Emperor sent high officers to represent him at Lu funerals, 
and to carry gems to place in deceased's mouth, " to show that 
he (the Emperor) had not the heart to leave the deceased 
unsupplied with food." In 581 the ruler of Lu, being on a 
visit to Tsin, was forcibly detained by Tsin, in order to swell 
the importance of a Tsin ruler's funeral. Lu (like the petty 
orthodox states of Wei, Sung, Cheng, etc., further south) was 
nearly always under the rival political constraint of either Ts'i, 

Ancient China Simplified 239 

Tsin, or Ts'u ; and this factor must accordingly also be taken 
into account in explaining Confucius' longing for the good old 
days of imperial predominance. In 572 Tsin attacked Cheng, 
though of the same clan as itself, whilst in mourning ; but in 
567 semi-barbarian Ts'u set a good example to orthodox Tsin 
by withdrawing its troops out of deference to a later official 
mourning then in force in Cheng: in 564 the King of Ts'u 
withdrew his armies home altogether on account of the mourn- 
ing due to his own deceased mother. In 560 barbarian Wu 
attacked Ts'u whilst in mourning for the above king (the one 
who first conquered the Canton region for Ts'u) ; but, here 
again, by a just Nemesis, Wu's army was cut to pieces, and 
Wu's own ally, Tsin, censured her for having done such an 
improper thing. In 544 the prime minister of Tsin mourned 
for his Ts'u co-signatory of the celebrated Peace Conference 
Treaty of 546 ; and this graceful act is explained to be in 
accordance with the rites. In 544 Ts'u herself was in mourn- 
ing, and in accordance with the terms of the Peace Conference 
Treaty, under which the Tsin vassals and the Ts'u vassals 
were to pay their respects to Ts'u and Tsin respectively — 
Ts'in and Ts'i, as great powers, being excused, or, rather, 
discreetly left alone — Ts'u put great pressure on Lu to secure 
the personal presence of the Lu ruler at the Ts'u funeraL 
The orthodox duke did not at all like this "truckling to a 
barbarian " ; but one of his counsellors suggested behaving 
before the corpse as he would behave to a vassal of his own : 
this was done, and the unsophisticated Ts'u was none the 
wiser at the time, though, later on, the king discovered the 
pious fraud. In 514 B.C. Wu wished to attack Ts'u while 
mourning, and the virtuous Ki-chah was promptly sent by 
Wu to sound Tsin about the fdcheuse sittiation. At a Lu 
funeral in 509, it was explained that the new duke could only 
mount the throne after the burial was over ; it was added 
"even the Son of Heaven's commands do not run in Lu 

240 Ancient China Simplified 

during this critical period ; d fortiori is the duke not capable 
of transacting his own subjects' business." But long before 
this, when the First Protector died, in 643, his body lay for 
sixty-seven days in the coffin unattended, whilst his five sons 
were wrangling about the succession ; in fact, the worms were 
observed crawling out of the coffin. These painful details 
have a powerful historical interest, for when (as mentioned on 
p. 209) his tomb was opened nearly 1000 years later, dogs 
had to be sent in ahead to test the air, as the stench was so 
great. In 492 an unpopular prince of Wei was in Tsin, which 
state had an interest in placing him on the throne. There 
happened to be in Tsin at that moment a scoundrel who had 
fled to Tsin from Lu, because he had found Confucius too 
strong for him in Lu ; and this man suggested to Tsin that it 
would be a good plan to send seventy Wei men back to Wei 
in mourning clothes and sash, so as to make the Wei people 
think that the prince was dead, and thus gain an opportunity 
to " run him in " by surprise, and set him up as ruler. In 489, 
when the King of Ts'u died in the field of battle, his three 
brothers, all of whom had declined his offer of the throne, but 
one of whom had at last accepted in order to give the dying 
man peace, decided to conceal the king's death from the 
army whilst they sent for his son by a Yiieh mother, pleading 
that the king had been non compos mentis when he proposed 
an irregular succession, and that the promise made to him 
was, therefore, of no avail. In 485 Lu and Wu joined in an 
attack upon Ts'i during the latter's mourning — a particularly 
disgraceful political combination : no wonder Confucius was 
hastily sent for from the state of Ch'en, whither he had pre- 
viously retired in disgust at the corruption of his native land. 
In 481 a conspiracy which was going on in Ts'i was delayed 
because one of the chief actors, being in mourning, could not 
attend to public business of any kind. In 332 B.C. Ts'i took 
ten towns from Yen by successfully attacking her whilst in 

Ancient China Simplified 241 

mourning ; one of the travelling diplomats and intriguers so 
common in China at that period insisted upon the towns 
being restored. This was at the exact moment when the 
philosopher Mencius, who seems to have also been a great 
political dilettante, was circulating to and fro between such 
monarchs as the Kings of Ts'i and Ngwei, alias Liang, as is 
fully explained in the still extant book of Mencius. 

All the above quaint instances, novel though they may be 
in detail, strongly recall to us in principle our own " rules " of 
international law, which are always liable to unexpected " con- 
struction " according to the exigencies of war and the power 
wielded by the "constructor." Inter anna leges silent. As 
usual in these ritual matters, Ts'in is distinguished by total 
absence of mention. 



So far as it is possible to judge from the concrete instances 
in which women are mentioned, it appears that in ancient 
Chinese times their confinement and seclusion was neither 
nominally nor actively so strict as it has been in later days, 
and they seem to have been much more companionable to 
men than they have been ever since the ridiculous foot- 
squeezing fashion came into vogue over a thousand years 
ago. When the Martial King addressed his semi-barbarous 
western allies, as he prepared his march upon the last Shang 
Emperor in 1122 B.C., he observed: "The ancient proverb 
says the hen crows not in the morn ; when she does, the house 
will fall " — in allusion to the interference of the debauched 
Emperor's favourite concubine in public affairs ; and we 
have seen, under the heading of Law in Chapter XX., how 
one of the imperial statutes, proclaimed or read regularly 
in the vassal kingdoms, prohibited the meddling of women 
in public business. But, in spite of this, so far as promoting 
the succession rights and political interests of their own 
children goes, wives and concubines certainly exerted con- 
siderable influence, whether legitimate or not, in all the 
states. The murder of an Emperor and flight of his suc- 
cessor in 771 B.C. was in its inception owing to the intrigues 
of women about Court. A few years only after that 
event, we find the orthodox ruler of Wei marrying a 
beautiful Ts'i princess (her beauty is a matter of history, 


Ancient China Simplified 243 

and is celebrated in the Odes, which are themselves a 
popular form of history) ; and then, because she had no 
children, further marrying a princess of Ch'en. This princess 
unfortunately lost her offspring ; but her sister also enjoyed 
the prince's favour, and her son was, after her death, given 
in adoption to the first childless Ts'i wife. This son 
succeeded to the Wei throne, but was ultimately murdered 
by a younger brother born of a concubine, who was next 
succeeded by still another younger brother, whose queen 
had also been one of his father's concubines. Thus in the 
most orthodox states (Wei was of the imperial clan), the 
rites often seem not to have counted for much in practice. 
— This book, it must here be repeated, deals with specific 
recorded facts, and not with civilization as it ought to have 
been under the Rites of Chou. — So, even in comparatively 
modern China, 1500 years later, the third emperor of the 
T'ang dynasty married his father's concubine, and she 
ultimately reigned as empress in her own right, which is 
in itself an outrage upon the " rites." 

In 694 B.C. the ruler of Lu (also of the imperial clan) 
married a Ts'i princess, who, as has been stated in 
Chapter XXXIV., not only had incestuous relations with 
her brother of Ts'i, but led that brother to procure the 
murder of her husband. In connection with this woman's 
further visit to Ts'i two years later, the rule is cited : 
" Women, when once married, should not recross the frontier." 
The same rule is quoted in 655 when a Lu princess, who 
had married a petty mesne-vassal of Lu in 670, recrossed 
the Lu frontier in order to visit her son in Lu. 

The Second Protector, during his wanderings, we know, 
married first a Tartar wife and then a Ts'i wife, both of 
whom showed disinterested affection for him, and genuine 
regard for his rights to the Tsin succession. Yet the ruler 
of Ts'in supplied him with five more royal girls, of whom 

244 Ancient China Simplified 

one had already been married to the Second Protector's 
predecessor and nephew, the Marquess of Tsin. It is but 
fair to the memory of this uxorious Tsin ruler to say that 
he only took her over under protest, and under the imme- 
diate stress of political urgencies ; he ultimately made her 
his principal spouse at the expressed desire of his ally the 
Ts'in ruler. He must have later married a daughter of the 
Emperor too, for, after the succession of a son and grandson, 
another of his sons named "Black Buttocks," being the 
youngest, and also "son of a Chou mother," came to the 
throne. Thus in those troublous times the honour of 
imperial princesses evidently did not count for very much 
at the great vassal courts. The readiness of Ts'in to induce 
the Tsin ruler to take over his nephew's wife (being a Ts'in 
princess) accentuates the semi-Tartar civilization of Ts'in 
at least, if not of Tsin too; for both Hiung-nu (200 B.C.) 
and Turks (a.d. 500) had aj fixed rule that a Khan successor 
should take over all his predecessor's women, with the 
single exception of his own natural mother. 

In the year 630 the King of Ts'u married or carried 
off two Cheng sisters (of the imperial clan). The ruler 
of Cheng had been insolent to the future Second Protector 
during his wanderings in the year 637, and, in order to 
avoid that Protector's vengeance, had been subsequently 
obliged to throw himself under Ts'u protection. "This 
ignoring of the rites by the King of Ts'u will result in his 
failing to secure the Protectorship," it was said. However, 
these princesses, though of the imperial Ki clan by marriage 
into it, were really daughters of a Cheng ruler by two 
separate Ts'i and Ts'u wives: moreover, previous to the 
accession of the Hia dynasty (in 2205 B.C.), a Chinese 
elective Emperor had married the two daughters of his 
predecessor, whose own son was unworthy to succeed: and, 
generally, apart from this precedent, the rule against marrying 

Ancient China Simplified 245 

two sisters, even if it existed, seems to have been loosely 
applied (cf. Chapter XXXIIL). 

In connection with the Cheng succession in 629, it is 
mentioned that "the wife's sons being all dead, X, being 
wisest of the secondary wives' or concubines 1 sons, is most 
eligible" (cf. Chapter XXXVII.). 

Great political complications arose in connection with a 
clever and beautiful princess of Cheng who had had various 
liaisons with high personages in the state of Ch'en and 
elsewhere ; in the end she was carried off in 589 by 
a treacherous Ts'u statesman to Tsin ; and indirectly this 
adventure led to his being charged by Tsin with a mission 
to Wu ; to the subsequent entry of Wu into the conclave 
of federal princes ; and to the ultimate sacking of the Ts'u 
capital by the King of Wu in 506 : it is easy to read 
between the lines that the Kings of Ts'u were considered 
unusually arbitrary and tyrannical rulers ; over and over 
again we find that their most capable statesmen took 
service with powers inimical to Ts'u. In 581 the ruler of 
Cheng, being forcibly detained in Tsin whilst on a political 
visit there, was temporarily replaced in Cheng by his elder 
brother, born of an inferior wife. 

A marriage between the two states of Sung and Lu having 
been arranged, the imperial clan states of Lu and Wei had 
certain duties to perform at the wedding, which took place in 
583 ; and it is recorded that the latter sent " handmaids." 
The explanation given is a little involved, but it seems to 
throw some light on the marriage of sisters question. It 
seems that the legitimate spouse and her " left and right 
handmaids " were each entitled to three " cousins or younger 
sisters " of the same clan-name as themselves, " thus making a 
total of nine girls, the idea being to broaden the base of 
succession." Not content with this, Lu sent a special envoy 
to Sung the next year to " lecture " the princess. It is 

246 Ancient China Simplified 

explained that " women at home are under the power of their 
father; married, under that of their husbands." Tsin also 
sent handmaids this year. It is further explained that 
" handmaids are a trifling matter, and they are only men- 
tioned in this Lu princess case because her marriage turned 
out so badly." The following year Ts'i despatched handmaids, 
but, " being of a different clan-name, Ts'i was not ritual in 
doing so." 

The precise functions of these paranymphs, or under- 
studies of wives, together with the rules governing their 
selection, are doubtless clearly enough described in the 
Rites of Chou ; but we are only dealing here with concrete 
facts as recorded. 

In 526 B.C., when Ts'in gave a princess in marriage to the 
Ts ( u heir, the Ts'u king decided to keep her for himself 
(see p. 234). Only a few years before that, Ts'u had given a 
princess of her own in marriage to the heir-apparent of 
one of the petty orthodox states (imperial clan), and the 
reigning father had had improper relations with her, which 
in the end led to his murder by his son ; thus Ts'u, however 
delinquent, had already been given a bad example by the 
imperial clan. 

After his humiliating defeat by the King of Wu in 
494 B.C., the King of Yiieh introduced a veritable Lex Julia 
into his dominions, in order to increase the population more 
quickly, and to prepare for his great revenge. Robust men 
were forbidden to marry old women, and old men to marry 
robust women. Parents were punished if girls were not 
married by the time they were seventeen, and if boys were 
not married by twenty. Enceinte women had to be placed 
under the care of public midwives. For every boy born, a 
royal bounty of two pots of wine and a dog were given : for 
every girl born, two pots of wine and a sucking-pig ; — the 
dog, it is explained, being figurative of outdoor, the pig of 

Ancient China Simplified 247 

internal economy. Triplets were to be suckled at the public 
expense ; twins to be fed, when big enough, at the public 
expense. The chief wife's son must be mourned, with 
absence from official duty, for three years ; other sons for 
two ; and both kinds of son were to be equally buried with 
weeping and wailing. Orphans, and the sons of sick or poor 
widows, were to receive official employment. Distinguished 
sons were to have their apartments cleansed for them, and 
had to be well fed and handsomely clothed. Learned men 
from other states were to be officially welcomed in the 
ancestral temple. With reference to this curious law, which 
is totally un-Chinese in its startling originality, it may be 
mentioned that it seems to have gradually led to that laxity 
of morals in ancient Yueh which is still proverbial in those 
parts ; for, when the First August Emperor was touring over 
his new empire in 212 B.C., he left an inscription (still on 
record) at the old Yueh capital, denouncing the "pig-like 
adultery " of the region, and, more especially, the remarrying 
of widows already in possession of children. Only a few 
years ago, proclamations appeared in this region denounc- 
ing the pernicious custom of forcing widows to remarry. 
Although Kwan-tsz is supposed to have " invented " the 
Babylonian woman for Ts'i, nothing is said in any ancient 
Chinese history about common prostitution ; nor is female 
infanticide ever mentioned. 

In 502 B.C. the Lu revolutionary, already mentioned in 
Chapter XXXVI I., who was driven to Tsin by Confucius' 
astute measures, had, before leaving Lu, formed a plot to 
murder all the sons, by wives, of the three "powerful 
families " who were intriguing against the ducal rights, and 
to put concubine sons — being creatures of his own — in their 
place ; thus the succession principles applied not only to 
ruling families, but also to private houses ; though, as a matter 
of fact, these three were all, in their origin, descended from 

248 Ancient China Simplified 

previous ruling dukes. As explained in Chapters XII. and 
XXXIIL, after five generations a fresh " family" is supposed 
to spring out of the common clan. 

In spite of Wu's barbarism, the fact of its belonging, by 
remote origin, to the imperial clan (through its first ruler 
having magnanimously migrated from Chou before Chou 
conquered China in 11 22), made it technically incest for Lu to 
intermarry with Wu ; thus, when in 482 B.C., a Wu princess 
(evidently forced for political purposes upon Lu) died, 
her husband, the ruler of Lu, was obliged to refrain from 
a public burial, as has been explained in Chapter XXXIII . 
on Names. 


It will have been noticed that, even in strictly historical 
times subsequent to 842 B.C., orthodox China was, mutatis 
mutandis, like orthodox Greece, a petty territory surrounded 
by a fringe of little-known regions, such as Macedonia, Asia 
Minor, Phoenicia, Egypt, and Italy; not to say distant 
Marseilles, and the Pillars of Hercules — all places at best very 
little visited except by navigators, and even then only by a 
few specially enterprising navigators or desperate adventurers ; 
though later on Greek influence and Greek colonies soon began 
to replace the Phoenician, and to exhibit surrounding countries 
in a more correct and definite light. 

As touches the surrounding regions of ancient China, and 
the knowledge of it possessed by the orthodox nucleus, such 
traditions as there are all point to acquaintance with the south 
and east rather than with the north and west. Persons who 
are persistently bent on bringing the earliest Chinese from the 
Tower of Babel by way of the Tarim Valley, are eager to seize 
upon the faintest tradition, or what seems to them an apparent 
tradition, in support of these preconceived views ; ignoring the 
obviously just argument that, if we are to pay any attention to 
mere traditions at all, we must in common fairness give priority 
in value to such traditions as there are, rather than such 
traditions as are not, but only as might be. For instance, 
there was a Chinese tradition that the founder of the Hia 
dynasty (2205 B - c -) was, in a sense, somehow connected with 


250 Ancient China Simplified 

the barbarous kingdom of Yueh, inasmuch as the great-great- 
grandson of the founder of the Hia empire a century later 
enfeoffed a son by a concubine in that remote region. The 
earliest Chinese mention of Japan is that it lay to the east of 
Yiieh, and that the Japanese used to come and trade with 
Yiieh. If the Japanese traditions, on the other hand, as first put 
into independent writing in the eighth century A.D., are worth 
anything, then the Japanese pretend that their ancestors were 
present at a durbar held by the above-mentioned great-great- 
grandson of the Hia founder ; and they also firmly derive their 
ruling houses (both king and princes) from the kingdom of 
Wu. We have seen in former chapters that both Wu and Yiieh, 
the most ancient capitals of which were within 200 miles of 
each other, spoke one language, and that both were derived 
(i.e. the administrative caste was derived) from two separate 
Chinese imperial dynasties. Now, the founder of the Hia 
dynasty is celebrated above all things for his travels in, and his 
geography of China, usually called the " Tribute of Yu " (his 
name), — a still existing work, the real origin of which may be 
obscure, but which has come down to us in the Book (of 
History). This geography is not only accurate, but it even 
now throws great light upon the original direction of river- 
courses which have since changed ; in this work there is not 
the faintest tradition or indirect mention of any Chinese having 
ever migrated into China from the west. 

There is no foundation, however, for the supposition, 
favoured by some European writers, that the Nine Tripods 
(frequently mentioned above) contained upon their surface 
" maps " of the empire ; they merely contained a summary, or 
a collection of pictures, symbolizing the various tribute nations. 
On the other hand, there is no trace in the " Tribute of Yu " 
of any knowledge of China south of the Yang-tsz River, south 
of its mouths, and south of its connection with the lakes of Hu 
Nan. The " province " of Yang Chou is vaguely said to extend 

Ancient China Simplified 251 

from the Hwai River " south to the sea." The " Blackwater " 
is the only river mentioned which exhibits any knowledge of 
the west (i.e. of the west half of modern Kan Suh province), 
and this " Blackwater " was crossed in 984 B.C. by the Emperor 

Then there is the tradition of Yii's predecessor, the 
Emperor Shun, who, as mentioned in the last chapter, married 
the two daughters of the Emperor Yao, and is buried at a point 
just south of the Lake Tung-t'ing, in the modern province of 
Hu Nan : it is certain that in 219 B.C., when the First 
August Emperor was on tour, the mountain where the grave 
lay was pointed out to him at a distance, if he did not actually 
go up to it. Again, the grandfather of the Warrior King who 
founded the Chou dynasty in 1122 B.C. was, as already 
repeatedly pointed out, only a younger brother, his two elder 
brothers having migrated to the Jungle, and, proceeding thence 
eastward, founded a colony in Wu (half-way between Nanking 
and Shanghai). Both Wu and Yiieh, for very many centuries 
after that, were extremely petty states of only 50 or 60 miles 
in extent, and for all practical purposes of history may be 
considered to have been one and the same region, to wit, the 
flat, canal-cut territory through which the much-disputed 
Shanghai- Hangchow railway is to run. After the death of the 
Martial King, when his brother the Duke of Chou was Regent 
for his son, the duke incurred the suspicion of other brethren 
and relatives as to his motives, and had to retire for some time 
to Ts'u, or, as it was then called, the Jungle country, for two 
years. There is a tradition that a mission from one of the 
southern Yiieh states found its way to the Duke of Chou, who 
is supposed to have fitted up for the envoys a cart with a 
compass attached to it, in order to keep the cart's head steadily 
south. This tradition, which only appears as a tradition in 
one of the dynastic histories of the fifth century A.D., is not 
given at all in the earlier standard history, and it is by no means 

252 Ancient China Simplified 

proved that the undoubtedly early Chinese knowledge of the 
loadstone extended to the making of compasses. Yet, as 
Renan has justly pointed out in effect, in his masterly evidences 
of Gospel truth, a weak tradition is better worth considering 
than no tradition at all. Besides, there is some slight indirect 
confirmation of this, for in 880 B.C. or thereabout, a King of 
Ts'u gave one of his younger sons a Yiieh kingdom bearing 
almost the same double name as that Yiieh kingdom from 
which the envoys in 1080 B.C. came to the Duke of Chou ; in 
each case the first part of the double name was Yiieh, and the 
second part only differed slightly. Again, in or about 820, some 
of the sons of the king exiled themselves to a place vaguely 
defined as " somewhere south of the Han River," which can 
scarcely mean anything other than " the country of the Shan or 
Siamese races," who lived then in and around Yiin Nan, and 
some of whom are still known by the vague name used as here 
in 820 B.C. The vagueness of habitat simply means that all 
south of the Han and Yang-tsz was terra incognita to China 
proper. There is another tradition, unsupported by standard 
history, to the effect that the Martial King enfeoffed a faithful 
minister of the emperor and dynasty he had just supplanted as 
a vassal in Corea. Here, again, if the emperor's own grand- 
father, or grand-uncles and trusted friends, could find their way 
to Wu, and, later, to Japan, not to mention Shan Tung and 
the Peking plain, it is reasonable to permit a respected adherent 
of the dethroned monarch to find his way to Corea, the more 
in that the centre of administrative gravity of Corea was then 
Liao Tung and South Manchuria — at the utmost the north 
part of modern Corea — rather than the Corean peninsula. 

In the year 649 the First Protector began to boast of 
having done as much as any of the three dynasties, Hia, 
Shang, and Chou, during the 1500 years before him ; he 
then defines the area of his glory, which is circumscribed by 
(at the very utmost) the west part of Shan Si, the south 

Ancient China Simplified 253 

part of Ho Nan, the north part of the Peking plain, and 
the Gulf of " Pechelee." The Second Protector, when he safely 
reached his ancestral throne after nineteen years of wanderings 
as Pretender, said to his faithful Tartar henchman and father- 
in-law : " I have made the tour of the whole world (or whole 
empire) with you." As a matter of fact, he had been with 
the Tartars, certainly in central, and possibly also in northern 
Shan Si ; in Ts'i, which means the northern part of Shan 
Tung and southern part of Chih Li ; thence across the four 
small orthodox states of Sung, Wei, Ts'ao, and Cheng (which 
simply means up the Yellow River valley into Ho Nan), to 
Ts'u ; and thence Ts'in fetched him to put him on the Tsin 
throne. The Emperor was already an obscure figure-head 
beneath all political notice, and no other parts of what we 
now call China were known to the Protector, even by name. 
As we shall see in a later chapter, Confucius covered the 
same ground, except that he never went to Tsin or to Tartar- 
land. The first bare mention of Yueh is in 670 B.C., when 
the new King of Ts'u, who had assassinated his elder brother, 
and who therefore wished to make amends for this crime 
and for his father's rude conquests, and to consolidate his 
position by putting himself on good behaviour to federal 
China, made dutiful advances to Lu and to the Emperor 
(these two minor powers then best representing the old ritual 
civilization). The Emperor replied : " Go on conquering the 
barbarians and Yueh, but let the Hia (ue. orthodox Chinese) 
states alone." In 601 Ts'u and Wu came to a friendly 
understanding about their mutual frontiers, and Yueh was 
also admitted to the conclave or entente ; but this was a 
local act, and had nothing whatever to do with China 
proper, which first hears of Yueh as an independent or semi- 
independent power in 536, when the King of Ts'u, with 
a string of conquered orthodox Chinese princes in train 
as his allies, and also a Yueh contingent, makes war on Wu. 

254 Ancient China Simplified 

In later days there is evidence showing that there was 
not much general knowledge of China as a whole, and that 
interstate intercourse was chiefly confined to next-door 
neighbours. For instance, when Tsin boldly marched an 
army upon Ts ( i in 589 B.C., it was considered a remarkable 
thing that Tsin chariots should actually gaze upon the 
sea. In 560, when the Ts'i minister and philosopher, Yen- 
tsz, was in Ts'u as envoy, and the Ts'u courtiers were playing 
tricks upon him (as previously narrated in Chapter IX.) he 
said : " I have heard it stated that when once you get 
south of the Hwai River the oranges are good. In the 
same way, we northerners produce but sorry rogues ; the 
genuine article reaches its perfection in Ts'u." Thus, even 
at this date, the Yang-tsz was regarded much as the Romans 
of the Empire regarded the Danube — as a sort of vague 
barrier between civis and barbarus. In no sense was the 
Ts'u capital — at no time were the bulk of the Ts'u dominions 
— south of that Great River ; nor, in fact, were the capitals 
of Wu and Yueh south of it either, for one of the three 
mouths (the northernmost was as now), corresponded to 
the Soochow Creek and the Wusung River, as they pass 
through the Shanghai settlement of to-day ; whilst the other 
ancient mouth entered the sea at modern Hangchow. We 
have given various other evidence above to show that, even 
earlier than this, the Yang-tsz was an unexplored region, 
known, and that only imperfectly and locally, to the Ts'u 
government alone. In the year 656 B.C. the First Protector 
called Ts'u to book because, in 1003 B.C., the Emperor had 
made a tour to the Great River and had never returned 
(see Chapter XXXV.). Again, when the imperial power 
collapsed in 771 B.C., the first Earl of Cheng (a relative 
of the Emperor) consulted the imperial astrologer as to 
where he had better establish his new fief: his own idea 
was to settle southwards on the borders of the Yang-tsz ; 

Ancient China Simplified 255 

but he was dissuaded from this step on the ground that 
the Ts'u power would grow accordingly as the Chou power 
declined, and thus Cheng would all the easier fall a prey 
to Ts'u in the future if she migrated now so far south. 
The astrologer makes another observation which supports 
the view that Ts'u and orthodox China were originally of 
the same prehistoric stock. He says : " When the remote 
ancestor of Ts'u did good service to the Emperor (2400 B.C.), 
his renown was great, yet his descendants never became 
so flourishing as those of the Chou family." In 597 B.C., 
when the Earl of Cheng really was at the mercy of Ts'u, 
he said : " If you choose to send me south of the Yang-tsz 
towards the South Sea, I shall not have the right to object " ; 
meaning, "no exile, however remote, is too severe for my 
deserts." In 549, when the Tsin generals were marching 
against Ts'u, they were particularly anxious to find good 
Cheng guides who knew the routes well. Finally, in 541, 
a Tsin statesman made the following observations to a 
prince (afterwards king) of Ts'u, who was then on a mission 
to Tsin, by way of illustrating for his visitor the conquests 
and distant expeditions of ancient times : — 

" The Emperor Shun (who married Yao's two daughters, 
and employed the founder of the Hia dynasty as his 
minister) was obliged to imprison the prince of the Three 
Miao (in Hu Nan ; the savages of Hu Nan and Kwei 
Chou provinces are still called Miao) ; the Hia dynasty 
had to deal with quarrels in (modern) Shan Tung and 
Shen Si ; the Shang dynasty had to do the same in (modern) 
Kiang Su ; the early Chou monarchs the same in (modern) 
North Kiang Su and South Shan Tung: but, now that 
there are no able emperors, all the vassals are at logger- 
heads. Wu and P'uh (the supposed Shan or Siamese region 
above referred to) are giving you trouble ; but it is no one's 
concern but yours." 

256 Ancient China Simplified 

From all this it is quite plain, though the Chinese 
historians and philosophers never seem to have discerned 
it clearly themselves, that the cultivated or orthodox Chinese, 
that is, the group of closely related monosyllabic and tonic 
tribes which alone possessed the art of writing, and thus 
inevitably took the lead and gradually civilized the rest, 
covered but a very small area of ground even at the time 
of Confucius' death in 479 B.C., and were completely ignorant 
of everything but the bare names of all the regions surround- 
ing this orthodox nucleus, which nucleus was therefore 
rightly called the " Central State," as China is, by extension, 
now still called. 

/ M PER 

BY TS'/N Sf TS'tf 

TSV '5 


TS/N & T&U 


1. Si-ngan Fu (and Hien-yang opposite, on the north bank of the River Wei), marked 
with circles in a lozenge, were the capitals of China, off and on, from 220 B.C. for over 
a thousand years. The ancient capital of the Chou dynasty, forsaken in 771 B.C., is 
marked with a cross in a circle and is west of Si-ngan. In 771 B.C. the Emperor fled east 
to his " east capital " (founded 300 years before that date), which then became the sole 
metropolis, called Loh (from the river on which it stands) ; it is also marked with a cross 
inside a circle and is practically the modern Ho-nan Fu ; it has, off and on, been the capital 
of all China, alternately with Si-ngan Fu, in later times. 

2. The ford where the first Chou Emperor (1122 B.C.) made an appointment with all 
his vassals is marked by two dotted lines across the Yellow River. 

3. The two dots in a half-circle mark the spot whither Tsin "summoned" the 
Emperor to the durbar of 632 B.C. After this, Tsin obtained from the Emperor cession of 
the strip between the Yellow River and the Ts'in River (nothing to do with Ts'in state). 

4. There is a second River Loh separating Ts'in state from Tsin state. The territory 
between this River Loh and the Yellow River was alternately held by Tsin and Ts'in. 

5. The territory between the more southerly River Loh and the Yellow River and 
River I was the shorn imperial appanage after Ts'in had in 771 B.C. obtained the west 
half; after Tsin in 632 had obtained the remaining north half ; and after Ts'u had nibbled 
away the petty orthodox vassals south of latitude 34 . 



The Chinese, with the single exception of their Great Wall, 
have always been flimsy builders, and there is accordingly 
very little left in the way of monuments to prove the 
antiquity of their civilization. Mention has already been 
made of the tombs of the Emperors Shun and Yu (2200 B.C.). 
The tomb of another Hia dynasty emperor (1837 B - c -) lay 
twenty miles north of Yung-ning in Ho Nan, where Ts'in, in 
627 B.C., was annihilated by Tsin (see p. 30). The tomb 
(long. 1 1 5 , lat. 33 ) of the King of Ts'u who died in 689 B.C. 
was pillaged about 500 years later, but landslips defeated 
the thieves' objects. The First Protector's tomb, seven miles 
south of his capital in Shan Tung — the town still marked on 
the maps as Lin-tsz — was desecrated in a.d. 312. A small 
pond of mercury was found inside, besides arms, valuables, 
and the bones of those buried with him. The palace of the 
Ts'u king of 617 B.C., — son of the one whose death that year 
was respectfully chronicled by Confucius — is still the yamen 
or prcetorium of the district magistrate at King-chou Fu, 
and can perhaps even yet be seen from any passing steamers 
that circulate above the treaty-port of Sha-sh'f. There is a 
doubt about the date of this king's tomb (d. 593) ; some 
place it near the palace, others over 100 miles north, near 
the modern city of Siang-yang. It is possible that, after the 
sacking of the capital by Wu, in 506, the bodies of former 
kings were at once removed to the new temporary capital 

257 s 

258 Ancient China Simplified 

(far to the north) to which the old name was given. For 
instance, it is certain that the king who died in 545 was 
buried quite close to the capital (King-chou Fu). Ki-chah's 
tomb, with Confucius' inscription upon it in ancient character, 
is still shown at a place ten miles west of Kiang-yin (where 
the modern forts are, below Nanking) and twenty miles east 
of Ch'ang-chou ; probably the new " British " railway passes 
quite close to the place, as do the steamers : for the past 
400 years sacrifices have been annually offered to Ki-chah's 
memory : as Confucius never visited Wu, the inscription, if 
genuine, must have been sent thither. The tomb of Ki-chah's 
nephew, King of Wu, is still to be seen outside one of the 
gates of Soochow ; or, rather, the temple built on the site is 
there, for the tomb itself was desecrated and pillaged by the 
armies of Yiieh, when they sacked the capital in 482. There 
was, originally, a triple copper coffin, a small pond, and 
some water birds made of gold (probably symbolic of sport), 
arms, valuables, etc. ; but nothing is said of human beings 
having been sacrificed. It was said (2000 years ago) that 
elephants had been employed in carrying the earth and building 
materials for this tomb. In 506 the vengeful Ts'u officer who 
had fled to Wu, and had incited the King of Wu to do all 
he could to ruin Ts'u, actually opened the royal grave, in or 
near the capital, and flogged the corpse of the dead king 
who had so grievously offended him and his family. 

In the year 501 the original bow and sceptre given by 
the warrior king to his brother, the Duke of Chou, founder 
of the State of Lu, was stolen from its resting-place, but was 
luckily recovered the following year. Incidentally this state- 
ment is of value ; for when the King of Ts'u, as narrated 
above, was making his demands upon the Emperor, one of 
his grievances was that he possessed no relics of the founder 
such as the presents which had been made by him to Ts'i, 
Lu, Yen, Tsin, and other favoured states of no greater status 

Ancient China Simplified 259 

than his own. The above are only a few instances out of 
many which show how, from age to age, the Chinese have 
seen with their own eyes things which in the vista of the 
distance now seem to us uncertain and incredible. As usual, 
Ts'in gives us nothing in the way of antiquity ; another 
proof that, until she conceived the idea of conquering China, 
she was totally unknown (internally) to orthodox China. 
Confucius' own house, temple, grave, and park form an abso- 
lutely unbroken link with the past. There are remains and 
the relics of the Duke of Chou in the immediate neighbour- 
hood, and it must not be forgotten that the Duke of Chou 
and his ritual system were Confucius' models : as Confucius 
insisted, " I am only a transmitter of antiquity." Moderns, 
and especially foreigners, have forgotten or reck nothing 
about the Duke of Chou ; yet his remains and temples were 
just as much a matter of visible history to Confucius as 
Confucius' grounds are to us. Each successive generation in 
China alludes to existing antiquities, or to contemporaneous 
objects which have since become antiquities, with the quiet 
confidence of those who actually possess, and who doubt not 
of their possessions. The very lacuna are pointed out by 
themselves — no scepticism of ours is required ; for whenever 
any historian, or any less formal writer, has outstepped the 
bounds of truth or probability, the critics are immediately 
there, and they always frankly say what they believe. In a 
word, the Chinese documents, be they iron, stone, wood, silk, 
paper, buildings, or graves ; and their traditions, are the sole 
evidence we possess : Chinese critics were the sole critics of 
that evidence ; and they are the sole light by which we 
foreigners can become critics. The great Chinese defect in 
criticism is the failure to work out general principles, and to 
criticize constructively as well as analytically. Their history 
is a rule of thumb, hand to mouth, diary sort of arrangement, 
like a vast museum of genuine but unclassified and unticketed 

260 Ancient China Simplified 

objects. But there is no good reason whatever for our 
doubting the genuineness of either traditions or documents 
beyond the point of scepticism to which native Chinese doubts 
go, for it must be remembered that no foreigner possesses 
one tenth of the mass of Chinese learning that the profes- 
sional literatus easily assimilates. All we can do is to re-group, 
and extract principles. 



It is important to insist on the very close relations that existed 
between the Chinese and the Tartars from the very earliest 
times. All that we are told for certain is that they were north 
and west of the older dynasties, and especially in occupation of 
the Upper Wei River, on the lower part of which the old 
metropolis of Si-ngan Fu lies ; which means that they were 
exactly where we find them in Confucian times, and where we 
find them now, except that they have been pushed a little 
further back, and that Chinese colonists have appropriated 
most of the oases. The Chou ancestor who died in 1231, i.e. 
the father of the founders of Wu, and the great-grandfather of 
the founder of the Chou dynasty (1 122), had to abandon to the 
encroaching Tartars his appanage on the Upper King River 
(a northern tributary of the Wei, which runs almost parallel 
with it, and joins it at Si-ngan Fu), and was obliged to move 
southwards to the Upper Wei River. For nearly 1000 years 
previous to this, his ancestors, who had originally been forced 
to fly to the Tartars in order to avoid the misgovernment of the 
third Hia emperor, had lived among and had, whilst continuing 
the Chinese art of cultivating, partly become Tartars ; for in 
1 23 1 B.C. the migrating host is said to have renounced Tartar 
manners, and to have devoted themselves seriously to building 
and cultivating ; from which it necessarily follows that Tartar 
manners must for some time have been definitely adopted by 
the Chou family. The grandson of the migrator, the father 


262 Ancient China Simplified 

of the Chou founder, had various little wars with a tribe called 
the Dog Tartars. Over 1000 years after that first flight to 
Tartardom, we have seen that the Emperor Muh, great-grand- 
son of the Chou founder, not only had brushes with the 
Tartars, but extended his tours amongst them to the Lower 
Tarim Valley, Turfan, Harashar, and possibly even as far as 
Urumtsi and Kuche ; but certainly no farther. Two hundred 
years later, again, the then ruling Emperor was defeated by 
the Tartars in (modern) Central Shan Si province, and the 
descendant in the sixth generation of the Ts'in Jehu who had 
conducted the Emperor Muh's chariot into Tartarland, only 
just succeeded in saving the Emperor's life ; but this family of 
Chao, which was thus (cf. p. 206) of one and the same descent 
with the Ts'in family, subsequently found its account in 
abandoning the imperial interest altogether, and in serving the 
rising principality of Tsin (Shan Si), where it became one of the 
" six families," three of which six in 403 B.C. were ultimately 
recognized by the Emperor as independent rulers. As we 
have said over and over again, in 772 B.C. the Chou Emperor, 
through female intrigues, got into trouble with the Tartars, 
and was killed : his successor had to move the metropolis east 
to (modern) Ho-nan Fu, thus abandoning the western part of 
his patrimony — the semi-Tartar half — to Ts'in. Thus Ts'in in 
771 B.C. was to the Chou Emperors what Chou, previous to 
1200 B.C., had been to the Shang Emperors. 

We now come to strictly historical times, and we shall have 
no difficulty in showing that even then — a fortiori in times not 
strictly historical — the various Tartar tribes were still in 
practical possession of the whole north bank of the Yellow 
River, all the way from the Desert to the sea. In fact, in 494 B.C., 
when the King of Wu sent a giant's bone to Lu for further 
explanation, Confucius said that the " Long Tartars " (who 
had frequent fights with Lu in the seventh century B.C.) used 
to extend south-east into (modern) Kiang Su, almost as far as 

Ancient China Simplified 263 

the mouth of the Yang-tsz River : he also says that, had it not 
been for the energy of the First Protector and his statesman 
adviser, the philosopher Kwan-tsz of Ts'i, orthodox China 
would certainly have become Tartarized. It was Confucius also 
whose learning enabled him to recognize a (Manchu) arrow 
found in the body of a migrating goose. In the eighth and 
seventh centuries B.C. the Tartars made repeated and obstinate 
attacks upon Yen (Peking plain), Ts'i (coast Chih Li and north 
Shan Tung), Wei (south Chih Li and north Ho Nan), Sung 
(extreme east Ho Nan), Ts'ao (central Ho Nan), and the 
Emperor's territory (west Ho Nan). This situation explains 
to us why the Protector system arose in China, in competition 
with the waning imperial power. Ts'in and Tsin, being already 
half Tartar themselves, were always well able to cope with and 
even to annex the Tartar tribes in their immediate vicinity ; but 
orthodox China was ever a prey to the more easterly Tartar 
attacks ; and thus the Emperors, threatened by Ts'u to their 
south, and in a measure also by Ts'in and Tsin to their north 
and west, not only could not any longer protect their orthodox 
vassals lying towards the east from Tartar attacks, but could 
not even protect themselves. 

It was Ts'i that drove back the Mongol-Manchu tribes and 
rescued Yen in 662 ; it was the Ts'i ruler who led a coalition 
of princes against other groups of Tartars and placed back on 
his ancestral throne the ruler of Wei, who had been driven 
from his country by Tartars in 658 ; it was the First Protector, 
ruler of Ts'i, who managed to pacify the more westerly Tartars 
we find persistently menacing the Emperor in 648 ; to whose 
rescue the Tartars came in 642, when a coalition of orthodox 
Chinese princes shamelessly took advantage of the First Protec- 
tor's death to attack Ts'i during the mourning period. Now it 
was that the Second Protector, still a refugee among his Tartar 
relatives, started for Ts'i, his original idea being to replace 
the philosopher Kwan-tsz as adviser to the First Protector ; 

264 Ancient China Simplified 

but, shortly after he reached Ts'i, the First Protector died, and 
it was only by stratagem that his friends succeeded in rescuing 
the future Second Protector from the arms of his Ts'i Delilah 
and his dilices de Capue. His chief adviser, and at the same 
time his brother-in-law from a Tartar point of view, was the 
lineal descendant of the Chao man who had saved the 
Emperor in 800 B.C. He set out, vid the orthodox states, 
for his own country. These petty orthodox states, such 
as Wei, Cheng, and Ts'ao, which did not then see their way 
to profit politically by the Pretender's visit, paid the penalty 
of their meanness and their rudeness to him later on. Sung 
was polite, as at that time Sung and Ts'u were both aiming 
at the Protectorship. Ts'u's hospitality was bluff and good- 
natured, the King being too strong to fear, and too un- 
sophisticated to intrigue after Chinese fashion. Just then news 
coming from Ts'in that the Pretender's brothers had all 
resigned or died, and that his chance had now come, the 
Pretender hurried to Tsin, regained his throne, and was ac- 
claimed Protector of China exactly at the critical moment when 
a strong hand was urgently required to check the particular 
ambitions of Ts'in, Ts'i, and Ts'u. Ts'u was too barbarous ; 
Sung was too pedantic ; Tsin alone had unrivalled experience 
both of Tartars and Eastern barbarians, and also of Southern 
barbarians (Ts'u). Probably it was only the fact of the Tsin 
ruling family bearing the same clan-name as the Emperor that 
had decided Tsin throughout to be orthodox Chinese instead 
of Tartar. The Tartar family into which the Second Protector 
had married as a comparatively young man was, however, also 
of the imperial clan-name, i.e. it was of orthodox Chinese 
origin, but (even like the Chou imperial family at one time) it 
had adopted Tartar customs. A large number of the one 
thousand or more petty Chinese principalities, attached not 
directly to the Emperor, but to the greater vassals as mesne 
lords, were in the same predicament ; that is to say, they were 

Ancient China Simplified 265 

of Chinese origin, but they had found that it paid them best 
to adopt barbarian ways. It was exactly as though Scipio 
should settle in Carthage, and become a Carthaginian : Caesar 
in Gaul, and adopt Gallic customs ; and so on with other 
Roman adventurers who should find a comfortable gite in 
Persia, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, or even in Britain and 

The main point upon which to fix the attention is this. 
The Chinese nucleus was very small, and only by rudely 
thrusting aside incompetent emperors and fussy ritual did 
it succeed in emancipating itself from Tartar bondage. That 
this is not an exaggerated view is additionally plain from the 
fact that Tartars have, even since Confucian times, ruled more 
and longer than have Chinese over North China ; the Mongols 
(1 260- 1 368) were the first Tartars to rule over all China, and 
nominally over all West Asia ; the Manchus (1643- 1908) are 
the first Tartars to rule all China, all Manchuria, and all 
Mongolia, at all effectively ; and they have even added parts 
of Turkestan, with Tibet, Nepaul, and other countries over 
which the Peking imperial Mongol influence was always very 



In these pictures of ancient Chinese life which we are en- 
deavouring to present, the idea is to repeat from every point 
of view the main characteristics of that life, so that a strange 
and unfamiliar subject, very loosely depicted in the straggling 
annals of antiquity, may receive fresh rays of light from every 
possible quarter, and thus stand out clearer as a connected 

Take, for instance, the subject of music, which always 
played in Chinese ceremonial a prominent part not easy for us 
now to understand. One of the chief sights of the modern 
Confucian residence is the music-room, containing specimens 
of all the ancient musical instruments, which, on occasion, are 
still played upon in chorus ; a picture of them has been pub- 
lished by Father Tschepe (see p. 128). According to the 
description given by this European visitor, the music is of a 
most discordant and ear-splitting description : but that does 
not necessarily dispose of the question ; for even parts of 
Wagner's Ring are a meaningless clang to those who hear 
the music for the first time, and who are unable to read the 
score or to follow out the " classical " style. As we have said 
before, the ancient emperors, at their banquets given to vassals 
and others, always had musical accompaniment. 

In 626 B.C., when the ruler of Ts'in received a mission 
from " the Tartar king " (probably a local king or chief), he 
was much struck with the sagacity of the envoy sent to him. 


Ancient China Simplified 267 

This envoy still spoke the Tsin language or dialect ; but his 
parents, who were of Tsin origin, had adopted Tartar manners. 
The envoy was also an author, and his work, in two sections, 
had survived at least up to the second century B.C. : he is 
classed amongst the " Miscellaneous Writers." The subject 
of the conversation was the superiority of simple Tartar 
administration as compared with the intricate ritual of the 
Odes, the Book, the Rites, and the "Music" of orthodox 
China. The beginnings of Lao-tsz's Taoism seem to peep out 
from this Tartar's words, just as they do with other " Miscel- 
laneous " authors. The wily Ts'in ruler, in order to secure this 
clever envoy for his own service, sent two bands of female 
musicians as a present to the Tartar king, so as to make him 
less virile ; 140 years later the cunning ruler of Ts'i did much 
the same thing in order to prevent the Duke of Lu from 
growing too strong ; and the immediate consequence was 
that Confucius left his fickle master in disgust. Ki-chah, 
Prince of Wu, was entertained whilst at Lu with specimens of 
music from the different states. When he came to the Ts'in 
music, he said: "Ha! ha! the words are Chinese! When 
Ts'in becomes quite Chinese, it will have a great future." 
This remark suggests a Ts'in language or dialect different 
from that of Tsin, and also from that of more orthodox China. 
In 546 B.C., when a mission from Ts'u to Tsin was accom- 
panied by a high officer from the disputed orthodox state 
of Ts'ai lying between those two great powers, the theory of 
music as an adjunct to government was discussed. Confucius' 
view a century later was that music best reflected a nation's 
manners, and that in good old times authority was manifested 
quite as much in rites and ceremonies as in laws and pro- 
nouncements. Previous to that, in 582, it had been discovered 
that Ts'u had a musical style of her own ; and in 579, when 
the Tsin envoy was received there in state, among other 
instruments of music observed there were suspended bells. 

268 Ancient China Simplified 

Thus both Ts'in and Ts'u at this date were still in the learning 
stage. Before ridiculing the idea that music could in any way 
serve as a substitute for preaching or commanding, we must 
reflect upon the awe-inspiring contribution of music to our 
own religious services, not to mention the " speaking " effect 
of our Western nocturnes, symphonies, and operatic music 

In 562 B.C., when a statesman of Tsin (whose fame in this 
connection endures to our own days) succeeded in establishing 
a permanent understanding with the Tartars, based upon joint 
trading rights and reasonable mutual concessions, the principle 
of interesting the Tartars in cultivation, industry, and so on ; 
as a reward for his distinguished services, he was presented 
with certain music, which meant that he had the political right 
to have certain musical airs performed in his presence. This 
concession ceases to seem ridiculous or even strange to us if 
we reflect what an honour it would have been to, say, the 
Duke of Wellington, or ? to Nelson, had the right to play 
" God Save the King " at dinner been granted to his family 
band of musicians. Four centuries before this, when the 
Emperor Muh made his tour amongst the Tartars, he always 
commanded that one particular musical air (named) should be 
struck up by his musicians on certain occasions (always stated 
in the narrative). In Tsin, and probably elsewhere, music- 
masters seem to have combined soothsaying and philosophy 
with their functions; thus, in 558 the music-master of that 
state was questioned on the arts of good government, to which 
he replied : " Goodness and justice " — two special antipathies, 
by the way, of Lao-tsz the Taoist, who lived about this time as 
an archive-keeper at the metropolis. In the year 555, either 
this same man or another musical prophet in Tsin reassured 
his fellow-countrymen who were dreading a Ts'u invasion with 
the following words : " I have just been conducting a song 
consisting of north and south airs, and the latter sound as 

Ancient China Simplified 269 

though the south would be defeated." But music also had its 
lighter uses, for we have seen in Chapter VI. how in 549 two 
Tsin generals took their ease in a comfortable cart, playing the 
banjo, whilst passing through Cheng to attack Ts'u. Music 
was used at worship as well as at court; in 527 the ruler of 
Lu, as a mark of respect for one of his deceased ministers, 
abandoned the playing of music, which otherwise would have 
been a constituent part of the sacrifice or worship he had in 
hand at the moment. Even in modern China, music is pro- 
hibited during solemn periods of mourning, and officials are 
often degraded for attending theatrical performances on solemn 
fasts. In 212 B.C., when the First August Emperor was, like 
Saul or Belshazzar, beginning to grow sad at the contempla- 
tion of his lonely and unloved greatness, he was suddenly 
startled at the fall of a meteoric stone, bearing upon it what 
looked like a warning inscription. He at once ordered his 
learned men to compose some music treating of " true men " 
and immortals, in order to exorcise the evil omen ; it may 
be mentioned that this emperor's Taoist proclivities have 
apparently had the indirect result that the word " true man " 
has come century by century down to us, with the meaning of 
" Taoist priest," or " Taoist inspired person." 


A TRAVELLER in modern China may still wonder at the 
utter absence of any sign of wealth or luxury except in 
the very largest towns. Fine clothes, jewels, concubines, 
rich food, aphrodisiacs, opium, land, cattle — these represent 
"wealth" as conceived by the Chinese rich man's mind. 
In 655 Ts'in is said to have paid five ram-skins to Ts'u 
in order to secure the services of a coveted adviser. Not 
many years after that, when the future Second Protector 
was making his terms with the King of Ts'u, he remarked : 
" What can I do for you in return ? You already possess 
all the slaves, musicians, treasures, silks, feathers, ivory, and 
leather you can want." In 606 a magnificent turtle was 
sent as a new year's dinner present from Ts'u to Cheng ; 
in modern China this form of politeness would never do 
at all, as the turtle has acquired an evil reputation as a 
term of abuse, akin to the Spanish use or abuse of the word 
" garlic " : however, I myself once experienced, when inland, 
far away from the sea, a curious compliment in the shape 
of a live crab two inches long (sent to me as a great honour) 
in a small jar. Of course chairs were unknown, and even 
the highest sat or squatted on mats ; not necessarily on the 
ground, but spread on couches. Hence the word survives the 
object, just as with us "covers" at dinner are "provided" 
but never seen ; thus in China a host is " east mat " and 
a guest "west mat." In 626, when the ruler of Ts'in was 


Ancient China Simplified 271 

talking politics with the Tartar envoy just mentioned above, 
he allowed him, as a special favour, to sit alongside of his 
own mat (on the couch). These couches probably resembled 
the modern settee, sofa, k l ang, or divan, such as all visitors 
to China have seen and sat on. Tea was quite unknown 
in those days, and is not mentioned before the seventh 
century A.D. ; but possibly wine may have been served, as 
tea is now, on a low table between the two seats. " Tartar 
couches " (possibly Turkish divans) are frequently mentioned, 
even in the field of battle, and in comparatively modern times. 
In 300 B.C. Ts'u made a present to a distinguished renegade 
prince of the Ts'i house of an "elephant couch," by which 
is probably meant a couch inlaid with ivory, in the present 
well-known Annamese style. 

In 589 B.C., when Tsin troops reached the Ts'i capital 
and the sea (as already related in Chapters VI. and XXXIX. 
under the heads of Armies and Geographical Knowledge), 
T'si endeavoured to purchase peace by offering to the victor 
the state treasure in the shape of precious utensils. In 551 
a rich man of Ts'u was considered insolently showy because 
he possessed forty horses. In 545 the envoy from Cheng, 
acting under the Peace Conference agreement so often 
previously described and alluded to, brings presents of furs 
and silks to Ts'u ; and in 537 Tsin speaks of such articles 
as often being presented to Ts'u. In 494, when the King 
of Yiieh received his great defeat at the hands of the King 
of Wu, his first desperate idea was to kill his wives and 
children, burn his valuables, and seek death at the head 
of his troops ; but the inevitable wily Chinese adviser was 
at hand, and the King ended by taking his mentor's advice 
and successfully bribing the Wu general (a Ts'u renegade) 
with presents of women and valuables. When this shrewd 
Chinese adviser of the Yiieh king had, by his sagacious 
counsels, at last secured the final defeat of Wu, he packed 

272 Ancient China Simplified 

up his portable valuables, pearls, and jades, collected his 
family and clients, and went away by sea, never to come 
back. As a matter of fact, he settled in Ts'i, where he 
made an enormous fortune in the fish trade, and ultimately 
became the traditional Crcesus of China, his name being 
quite as well known to modern Chinese through the Con- 
fucian historians, as the name of Crcesus is to modern 
Europeans through Herodotus. He had, between the two 
defeats of Yiieh by Wu and Wu by Yiieh, served for several 
years as a spy in Wu, and the fact of his reaching Shan Tung 
by sea confirms in principle the story of the family of his 
contemporary, the King of Wu, having similarly escaped 
to Japan. The place where he landed was probably the 
same as where the celebrated pilgrim Fah Hien landed, 
after his Indian pilgrimage, in 415 A.D., i.e. at the German 
port of Ts'ing-tao. 

We do not hear much of gold in the earlier times, but 
in 237 B.C., when Ts'in was straining every nerve to conquer 
China, the (future) First August Emperor was advised that 
"it would not cost more than 300,000 pounds weight in 
gold to bribe the ministers of all the states in league against 
Ts'in." Yet in 643 B.C., on the death of the First Protector, 
the orthodox state of Cheng (lying between Ts'i and Tsin 
to the north and Ts'u to the south), was bribed with " metal " 
of some sort — probably gold or silver — to abandon Ts'i. 
In 538 the celebrated Cheng statesman Tsz-ch'an informs 
his Ts'u colleagues that the Tsin officers "think of nothing 
but money." What kind of money this was is doubtful, 
but it will be remembered (p. 232) that about this time the 
"powerful family" of Lu had succeeded in bribing the Tsin 
ministers, or the " six great families " then managing Tsin, 
to deny justice to the fugitive Lu duke. In 513 B.C. the 
powerful Wu king who made (modern) Soochow his capital 
is said to have possessed both iron and gold mines, and it 

Ancient China Simplified 273 

is stated that not even China proper could turn out better 
weapons. Large "cash" are said to have been coined by 
the Emperor who reigned from 540 to 520 B.C. ; and in 
450 B.C. the King of Ts'u is reported to have "closed his 
dtpot of the three moneys." As only copper was coined, 
it is not easy to say now what the other two "moneys" 
were. In 318 B.C. a bribe of "one hundred golds" was 
given by Yen to one of the well-known political diplomats 
or intriguers then forming leagues with or against Ts ( in ; 
it is not known for certain how much this was at that 
particular time and place ; but a century or two later it 
meant, under the Ts'in dynasty, twenty-four ounces ; during 
the Han dynasty, conquerors of the Ts'in dynasty, it was only 
about half that. — Cooks seem to have held official positions 
of considerable dignity. "Meat-eaters" in Confucian times 
was a term for "officials" or "the rich." Thus when the 
haughty King of Wu was suddenly recalled home, from his 
high-handed durbar with Tsin, Lu, and other orthodox 
states, to go and deal with his formidable enemy of Yiieh, 
he turned quite pale. By dint of bold " bluff " he managed 
after all to gain most of his political points, and to retire 
from an awkward corner with honour; but Chinese spies 
had their eyes on him none the less, and reported to the 
watchful enemy that "meat-eaters are not usually black- 
faced," — meaning that the King of Wu evidently had some 
very recent bad news on his mind, for "the well-fed do 
not usually look care-worn." 

Silk was universally known. When the Second Protector 
(to be) was dallying with his lady-love in Ts'i, the maid 
of his mistress happened to overhear important conversations 
from her post in a mulberry tree ; the presumption is that 
she was collecting leaves for the silkworms. Again in 519, 
a century later, there was a dispute on the Ts'u-Wu frontier 
(North An Hwei province), about the possession of certain 

274 Ancient China Simplified 

mulberry trees. Cotton (Gossypium) was unknown in China, 
and the poorer classes wore garments of hempen materials ; 
the cotton tree (JBombyx) was known in the south, but 
then (as now) the catkins could not be woven into cloth. 
It was never the custom of officers in China to wear 
swords, until in 409 B.C. Ts'in introduced the practice ; 
but it probably never extended to orthodox China, so far, 
at least, as civilians were concerned. The three dynasties 
of Hia, Shang, and Chou had all made use of jade or 
malachite rings, tablets, sceptres, and so on, as marks of 
official rank. 

As to sports, hunting, and especially fowling, seem to 
have been the most popular pastimes. In 660 a prince 
of Wei (orthodox) is said to have had a passion for egret 
rights. In 539 four-horsed chariots are mentioned as being 
used in a great Ts'u hunt south of the modern Teh-an in 
northern Hu Peh province, then mostly jungle : these hunts 
were used as a sort of training for war as well as for sport. 
The celebrated " stone drums " discovered in the seventh 
century A.D. near the old Chou capital describe the war-hunts 
of the active emperor mentioned in Chapter XLI. As might 
be expected, Yen (Peking plain) would be well off for 
horses — to this day brought by the Mongols in droves to 
Peking: in 539 it is said of Yen: "She was never a strong 
power, in spite of her numerous horses." In 534 a great 
hunt in Lu is described with much detail ; here also chariots 
were used, and their shafts were reared in opposite rows 
with their tips meeting above, so as to form a " shaft gate," 
on which, besides, a flag was kept flying. The entrance to 
Chinese official yamens is still called " the shaft gate " ; — in 
fact, the ya was orginally a flag, and " yamin " simply means 
" flag gate." In the Middle Ages the Turkish Khans' encamp- 
ments were always spoken of as their ya — thus : "from hence 
1 500 miles north-west to the Khan's ya" Cockfighting was 

Ancient China Simplified 275 

a common sport in Ts'i and Lu. In 517 B.C. two prominent 
Lu functionaries had a quarrel because one had put metal 
spurs on his bird, whilst the other had scattered mustard in 
the feathers of his fighting cock : owing to the ambiguity 
or double meaning of one of the pictographs employed, it 
is not quite certain that " mustard in the wings " may not 
mean " a metal helmet on the head." Lifting weights was 
(as now) a favourite exercise ; in 307 a Ts'in prince died from 
the effects of a strain produced in trying to lift a heavy metal 
tripod. In Ts'i games at ball, including a kind of football, 
were played. As a rule, however, it is to be feared that the 
wealthy Chinese classes in ancient (as in modern) times found 
their chief recreation in feasting, literary bouts, and female 
society. Curiously enough, nothing is said of gambling. 
Women are depicted at their looms, or engaged upon the 
silk industry ; but it is singular how very little is said of 
home life, of how the houses were constructed, of how the 
hours of leisure were passed. In modern China the bulk 
of the male rural population rises with or before the dawn, 
and is engaged upon field or garden work until the shades 
of evening fall in ; there is no artificial light adequate for 
purposes of needlework or private study ; even the consola- 
tions of tobacco and tea — not to say opium, and now news- 
papers — were unknown in Confucian days. It is presumed, 
therefore, that life was even more humdrum than it is now, 
except that women at least had feet to walk upon. We gain 
some glimpses of excessive taxation and popular misery, 
forced labour and the press-gang ; of callous luxury on the 
part of the rich, from the pages of Lao-tsz and Mencius ; 
the Book of Odes also tells us much about the pathetic 
sadness of the people under their taskmasters' hands. In 
all countries popular habits change slowly ; in none more 
so than in China. We are driven, therefore, by com- 
parison with the life of to-day to conclude that life in 

276 Ancient China Simplified 

those times was sufficiently wretched, and it is there- 
fore not to be wondered at that the miserable people 
readily sold their services to the first ambitious adven- 
turer who could protect them, and feed them from day to 


Confucius has hitherto appeared to many of us Westerners 
as a stiff, incomprehensible individual, resting his claim to 
immortality upon sententious nothingnesses directed to no 
obvious practical purpose ; but, from the slight sketches 
of the manners of the times in which he lived given above, 
it will be apparent that he was a practical man with a definite 
object in view, and that both his barebones history and his 
jerky moral teachings were the best he could do with sorry 
material, and in the face of inveterate corruption and tyranny. 
It has been explained how the Warrior King who conquered 
China for the Chou family in 1122, about a dozen years later 
enfeoffed the elder brother of the last Shang dynasty emperor 
in the country of Sung, where he ruled the greater part of 
what was left of the late dynasty's immediate entourage, and 
kept up the sacrifices. This is what Confucius meant when 
he said : " There remain not in K'i sufficient indications of what 
the institutions of the Hia dynasty were ; but I have 
studied in Sung what survives of the Shang dynasty institu- 
tions. In practice I follow the Chou dynasty institutions, as I 
have studied them at home in Lu." K'i was a very petty 
state of marquess rank situated near Lu, to which, indeed, it 
was subordinate ; but just as Sung had, as representatives of 
the Shang dynasty, the privilege of carrying out certain 
imperial sacrifices, so had K'i, as representatives of the Hia 
dynasty (enfeoffed by Chou in 1122), an equal right to 
distinction. Confucius' ancestors were natives of Sung and 


278 Ancient China Simplified 

scions of the ducal family reigning there ; in fact, in 893 his 
ancestor ought to have succeeded to the Sung throne : in 
710 B.C. the last of these ancestors to hold high official rank 
in Sung was killed, together with his princely master ; and 
several generations after that the great-grandfather of Con- 
fucius, in order to avoid the secular spite of the powerful 
family who had so killed his ancestor, decided to migrate to 
Lu. In other words, he just crossed the modern Grand Canal 
(then the river Sz, which rose in Lu), and moved a few days' 
journey north-east to the nearest civilized state of any stand- 
ing. Confucius' father is no mythical personage, but a stout, 
common soldier, whose doughty deeds under three successive 
dukes are mentioned in the Lu history quite in a casual and 
regular way. When still quite a child, Confucius disclosed a 
curious fancy for playing with sacrificial objects and practising 
ceremonies, just as English children in the nursery sometimes 
play at " being parson and sexton," and at " having feasts." 
When he grew up to manhood, a high officer of Lu foretold 
his future greatness, not only on account of his precociously 
grave demeanour, but also because he was in direct descent 
from the Shang dynasty, and because the intrigues that had 
taken place in Sung had deprived him of his succession rights 
there also. This high officer's two sons, both frequently 
mentioned by various contemporary authors, and one of whom 
subsequently went with Confucius to visit Lao-tsz at the 
imperial court, thereupon studied the rites under the man of 
whom their father had spoken so well. The only official 
appointment in Lu that Confucius was able to obtain at this 
period was that of steward to one of the u powerful families " 
then engaged in the task, so congenial in those times all over 
China, of undermining the ducal authority ; this appointment 
was a kind of stewardship, in which his duties consisted in 
tallying the measures of grain and checking the heads of cattle. 
One of the two sons of the above-mentioned statesman who 

Ancient China Simplified 279 

had foreseen Confucius' distinction, some time after this 
submitted a request to the ruler of Lu that he might proceed 
in company with Confucius to visit the imperial capital ; and 
it is supposed by Sz-ma Ts'ien, the historian of ioo B.C., that 
this was the occasion on which took place the philosopher's 
famous interview with Lao-tsz. In this connection there are 
two or three remarks to make. In the first place, it is recorded 
of nearly all the vassal states that they either did pay visits 
to, or wished to visit, the metropolis ; and that royal dukes and 
royal historians, either at vassal request or under imperial 
instruction, took part in advising vassal states. In the second 
place, as Confucius then held no high office, his visit, being a 
private affair, would not be considered worth mentioning in 
the Lu annals, and it would therefore almost follow as a 
matter of course that the young man who accompanied him, 
being of official status by birth, would count as the chief 
personage. In the third place, there is no instance in the 
Confucian histories of a mere archive- keeper or a mere 
philosopher being mentioned on account of his importance in 
that capacity. Such men as Tsz-ch'an, Shuh Hiang, Ki-chah, 
and the other distinguished u ritualists " of the time, are not 
mentioned so much on account of their abstract teachings as 
they are on account of their being able statesmen, competent 
to stave off the rising tide of revolutionary opinions. Even 
Confucius himself only appears in contemporary annals as an 
able administrator and diplomat ; there is no particular men- 
tion of his " school," and, d fortiori^ he himself does not 
mention Lao-tsz's " school," even if Lao-tsz had one ; for he 
disapproved of Lao-tsz's republican and democratic way of 
construing the ancient too. Finally, neither Confucius nor 
Lao-tsz, however great their local reputations, were yet 
universally " great " ; they were consequently as little the 
objects of hero-worship as was Shakespeare when he was at 
the height of his activity ; and of the living Shakespeare we 

280 Ancient China Simplified 

know next to nothing. At this time Lu was in a quandary, 
surrounded by the rival great powers of Tsin, Ts'i, and Ts'u, 
all three of which absolutely ignored the Emperor, except so 
far as they might succeed in using him and his ritualistic 
prestige as a cat's-paw in their own selfish interests. When 
Confucius was thirty years of age (522 B.C.) the ruler of Ts'i, 
accompanied by his minister the philosopher Yen-tsz, paid a 
visit to Lu, and had a discussion with Confucius upon the 
question : " How did Ts'in, from beginnings so small and 
obscure, reach her present commanding position ? " Besides 
this, the Ts'i ruler and his henchman Yen-tsz both took the 
opportunity to study the rites at Lu. This fact seems to 
support the (later) statement that Confucius had himself 
been to study the rites at the metropolis, and also to explain 
Confucius' own confession that he did not understand much 
about the Hia dynasty institutions that used to exist in K'i, — 
a state lying eastward of Ts'i. In 520 the last envoy ever sent 
from Lu to the Chou metropolis reported on his return that 
the imperial family was in a state of feud and anarchy : if, as 
it is stated, this was really the last envoy from Lu, then Con- 
fucius and his friend must have visited Lao-tsz before the 
former reached the age of thirty. Tsin and Lu were both now 
in a revolutionary condition, and a struggle with the " powerful 
families " was going on in each case ; it was also beginning in 
Ts'i, and in principle seems to have been exactly akin to our 
English struggle between King John and his barons (as 
champions of popular rights) against the greed of the tax- 
collector. To avoid home troubles, Confucius at the age of 
thirty-five went to Ts'i, in order, if possible, to serve his friend 
the Marquess, who had a few years before consulted him about 
the rise of Ts'in. There perhaps it was that he found an oppor- 
tunity to study the music of the Hia dynasty at the petty state 
of K'i, only one day's journey east of the Ts'i capital, on the 
north-east frontier of Lu ; and then it must have been that he 

Ancient China Simplified 281 

formed his opinion about the surviving Hia rites. His advice 
to the reigning prince of Ts'i was so highly appreciated that it 
was proposed to confer an estate upon him. It is interesting 
to note that the jealous Yen-tsz (who was much admired as a 
companionable man by Confucius) protested against this grant, 
on the ground that "men of his views are sophistical rhetori- 
cians, intoxicated with the exuberance of their own verbosity ; 
incompetent to administer the people ; wasting time and 
money upon expensive funerals. Life is too short to waste in 
trying to get to the bottom of these inane studies." From 
this it will be seen that Lao-tsz was by no means alone in 
despising Confucius' conservative and ritualistic views, though 
it is quite possible that Yen-tsz may still have respected him 
as a man and a politician. Finally, Confucius, finding that 
the Ts'i ministers were all arrayed against him, and that the 
Marquess fain confessed himself too old to fight his battles for 
him, quitted the country and returned home. His own duke 
died in exile in 510 B.C., power remaining in the intriguing 
hands of an influential private family ; and for at least ten years 
Confucius held no office in his native land, but spent his time 
in editing the Odes, the Book, the Chou Rites, and the Music ; 
by some it is even thought that he not only edited but com- 
posed the Book (of History), or put together afresh such parts 
of the old Book as suited his didactic purposes. Meanwhile 
the private family intrigues went on more actively than ever ; 
until at last, in 501, when Confucius was fifty years of age, the 
most formidable agitator of them all, finding his position 
untenable, escaped to Ts'i ; it even seems that Confucius 
placed, or thought of placing, his services at the disposal of 
one of these rebel subjects. Possibly it was in view of such 
contingencies that the reigning duke at last gave Confucius a 
post as governor of a town, where his administration was so 
admirable that he soon passed through higher posts to that of 
Chief Justice, or Minister of Justice. Confucius' views on law 

282 Ancient China Simplified 

are well known. He totally disapproved of Tsz-ch'an's pub- 
lication of the law in the orthodox state of Cheng, as explained 
in Chapter XX., holding that the judge should always 
" declare " the law, and make the punishment fit the crime, 
instead of giving the people opportunities to test how far 
they could strain the literal terms of the law. He also said-: 
" I am like others in administering the law ; I apply it to 
each case ; it is necessary to slay one in order not to have 
to slay more. The ancients understood prevention better 
than we do now ; at present all we can hope to do is to avoid 
punishing unjustly. The ancients strove to save a prisoner's 
life ; now we can only do our best to prove his guilt. How- 
ever, better let a guilty man go free than slay an innocent one." 
Confucius' old friend the ruler of Ts'i was still alive (he 
reigned fifty-eight years, one of the longest reigns on record in 
Chinese history), and he had just suffered serious humiliation 
at the hands of the barbarous King of Wu, to whose heir- 
apparent he had been obliged to send one of his daughters 
in marriage. The Protectorate of China was going a-begging 
for want of a worthy sovereign, and it looked at one time 
as though Confucius' stern and efficient administration would 
secure the coveted prize for Lu. The Marquess of Ts'i 
therefore formed a treacherous plot to assassinate both master 
and man, and with this end in view sent an envoy to propose 
a friendly conference. It was on this occasion that Confucius 
uttered his famous saying (quoted, however, from what "he 
had heard") that "they who discuss by diplomacy should 
always have the support of a military backing." A couple 
of generals accordingly accompanied the party to the trysting- 
place ; and it is presumed that the generals had a force of 
soldiers with them, even though the indispensable common 
people be not worth mention in Chinese history. In con- 
formity with practice, an altar or dafs was constructed ; wine 
was offered, and the usual rites were being fulfilled to the 

Ancient China Simplified 283 

utmost, when suddenly a Ts'i officer advanced rapidly and 
said : " I now propose to introduce some foreign musicians," 
a band of whom at once entered the arena, with brandished 
weapons, waving feathers, and noisy yells. Confucius saw 
through this sinister manoeuvre at once, and, hastily mounting 
the dais (except, out of respect, the last step), expostulated in 
the plainest terms. The ruler of Ts'i was so ashamed of his 
position that he at once sent the dancers .away. But a 
second group of mountebanks were promptly introduced in 
spite of this check. Confucius was so angry, that he demanded 
their instant execution under the law (presumably a general 
imperial law) "providing the punishment of death for those 
who should excite animosity between princes." Heads and 
legs soon covered the ground ; and Confucius played his 
other cards so well that he secured, in the sequel, a formal 
treaty, actually surrendering to Lu certain territories that had 
unlawfully been held for some years by Ts'i. On the other 
hand, Lu had to promise to aid Ts'i with 22,500 men in 
case Ts'i should engage in any "foreign" war — probably 
alluding to Wu. Two or three years after that stirring event 
there was civil war in Lu, owing to Confucius having insisted 
on the " barons " dismantling their private fortresses. 

At the age of fifty-six Confucius left his post as Minister 
of Justice to take up that of First Counsellor : his first act was 
to put to death a grandee who was sowing disorder in the 
state. It was during these years of supreme administration 
that complete order was restored throughout the country ; 
thieves disappeared ; " sucking-pigs and lambs were sold for 
honest prices " ; and there was general content and rejoicing 
throughout the land. All this made the neighbouring people of 
Ts'i more and more uneasy, even to the point of fearing an- 
nexation by Lu. The wily old Marquess therefore, again at the 
instigation of the man who had planned the attempted assas- 
sination of 500 B.C., made a selection of eighty of the most 

284 Ancient China Simplified 

beautiful women Ts'i could produce, besides thirty four-horsed 
chariots of the most magnificent description. The reigning 
Marquess of Lu, as well as his "powerful family" friend 
against whom Confucius had once thought of taking arms 
(who, indeed, acted as intermediary) both fell into the trap : 
public duty and sacrifices were neglected ; and the result was 
that Confucius at once threw up his offices and left the country 
in disgust. His first visit was to Wei (imperial clan), the 
capital city of which state then stood on the Yellow River, 
in the extreme north-east part of modern Ho Nan province ; 
and through this capital the river then ran : the metropolis 
of one of the very ancient emperors previous to the Hia 
dynasty had nearly 2000 years before been in the immediate 
neighbourhood, as also had been the last capital of the Shang 
dynasty, of which, as we have seen, Confucius was a distant 
scion. After a few months' stay there, he was suspected and 
calumniated ; so he decided to move on, although the ruler 
of Wei had generously appropriated to him a salary (in grain) 
suitable to his high rank. He accordingly proceeded east- 
wards to a town belonging to Sung (in the extreme south 
of modern Chih Li province): here he had the misfortune to 
be mistaken for the dangerous individual who had fled from 
Lu to Ts'i in 501, in consequence of which he returned to 
stay in Wei with his friend K'u-peh-yuh, who, as mentioned 
in Chapter XXVIII., had been visited by Ki-chah of Wu in 
544 B.C. Here, as a distinguished traveller, he was asked 
(practically commanded) by one of the ruler's wives to pay 
her a visit ; and, though the reluctant visit was paid with all 
propriety and reserve, the fact that this woman was at the 
time suspected of having committed incest with her own 
brother is considered by uncompromising native critics to 
leave a slight stain on Confucius' character. Worse still, 
the reigning prince took his wife out for a drive with a 
eunuch sitting in the same carriage, ordering the sage to follow 

Ancient China Simplified 285 

the party in an inferior carriage. This was too much for Con- 
fucius, who then resumed his original journey through Sung, 
from which he had turned back, and proceeded to the small 
state of Ts'ao (imperial clan, still called Ts'ao-chou, extreme 
south-west of modern Shan Tung province). To-day he would 
have had to cross the Yellow River, but of course none is 
here mentioned, as Confucius had already left it behind at 
the Wei capital : in fact, he had been on the right bank 
ever since he left his own country. This was 495 B.C. After 
a short stay in Ts'ao, the philosopher proceeded south towards 
the capital of Sung (modern Kwei-teh Fu in the extreme 
east of Ho Nan). For some reason the Minister of War 
there wished to assassinate him — probably because the arch- 
intriguer whom Confucius had driven out of Lu in 501, and 
who had taken refuge first in Ts'i and then in Sung, had 
calumniated him there. Confucius thereupon made his way 
westwards, over the various headwaters of the River Hwai, 
to Cheng (imperial clan), the state which had been for a 
generation so admirably administered by Tsz-ch'an : in fact, 
a man outside the city gate observed " how like Tsz-ch'an " 
the stranger looked. Some accounts make out that Tsz-ch'an 
was then only just dead, but the better opinion is that he had 
already then been dead for twenty-seven years : in any case it is 
curious that Confucius, who was a very tall man, should twice 
be mistaken for other persons. Thence Confucius turned 
back south-east to the orthodox state of Ch'en (modern 
Ch'en-chou Fu in Eastern Ho Nan). This was one of the 
very oldest principalities in China, dating from even before 
the Hia dynasty (2205 B - c -) \ anc * the Warrior King of Chou, 
after conquering the empire in 1122 B.C., had industriously 
sought out the most suitable lineal descendant to take over 
the ancient fee of his remote ancestor, and continue the 

Confucius remained in Ch'en over three years, and during 

286 Ancient China Simplified 

that time the barbarian King of Wu annexed several neigh- 
bouring towns, whilst Tsin and Ts'u ravaged the sur- 
rounding country in turn, in their rival efforts to secure a 
predominant influence there. Here it was, too, that a bird 
of prey, pierced with a strange arrow, fell near the prince's 
palace: from the wood used in making the arrow and the 
peculiar stone barb employed to tip it, Confucius was able 
to explain that the bird must have flown from (modern) Man- 
churia. (This annual flight of bustards and geese, to and 
from the Steppes, may be observed any winter to-day.) He 
next turned north, and arrived once more at the spot in 
Sung he had visited in 496 : here he was arrested, but set 
free on his solemn promise that he would not go to Wei, 
which state at the moment was considering the advisability 
of attacking that very Sung town. Confucius deliberately 
broke his plighted word, on the ground that "promises ex- 
torted by violence are void, and are not recognized by the gods." 
(These words, which, after all, are good English law, were 
quoted by the irate Chang Chf-tung when Russia " extorted " 
the Livadia Treaty from Ch'unghou.) On his arrival in Wei, 
he advised his old friend, the Wei duke, to attack the Sung 
town he had just left. But the duke thought it best to 
have the Yellow River between himself and the rival states 
of Ts'u and Tsin (this specific mention of the Yellow River 
as being west of a city in long. 114 30' E. is interesting). 
The latter state, Tsin, then held most of the left bank ; 
Confucius even thought of accepting the invitation of a Tsin 
rebel to go and assist him : this was just at the moment 
when the " six families " were gradually breaking up the 
once powerful northern orthodox state. He also hesitated 
whether he would not do better, as the prince of Wei would 
not employ him, to proceed west to Tsin in order there to 
serve one of the contending six families : in fact he actually 
got as far as the Yellow River (another proof that it must then 

Ancient China Simplified 287 

have run on the west side of Wei-hwei Fu in Ho Nan) ; but 
turned back to Wei on hearing unfavourable news from the 
Tsin capital (in south Shan Si). As the Wei prince treated 
him somewhat cavalierly during an interview, he decided to 
go back . once more due south to the ancient state of Ch'en. 
Here (492) he heard news of the destruction by fire of some 
of the Lu ancestral temples, and of the death of the " powerful 
family " minister whose disgraceful conduct with the singing 
girls had led to his departure from Lu in disgust. This 
minister was a sort of hereditary maire du palais^ an arrange- 
ment which seems to have been customary in many states, 
and his last words to his son were : " When you succeed me, 
send for Confucius : my administration has failed : I did 
wrong in dismissing him." The son had not the courage to 
ask Confucius himself, but he sent instead for one of the 
philosopher's disciples, and it was arranged with Confucius' 
friends that this disciple on taking office should send for 
Confucius himself, who really wished to be employed in Lu 
again. Meanwhile Confucius decided to visit the orthodox 
state of Ts'ai (imperial clan), lying to the south of Che'n : 
the capital of this state had been originally a town on the 
upper waters of the Hwai River, right in the heart of 
modern Ho Nan province ; but, under stress of the Tsin and 
T'su wars, it had twice moved its chief city eastwards, and 
owing to a Ts'u invasion, it was now (491) on the main 
Hwai River in modern An Hwei province, and was at the 
moment under the political influence of Wu ; it is not clear, 
however, whether Confucius visited the old or the new capital. 
After a year's stay here, Confucius went further westwards 
to a certain Ts'u town (near Nan-yang Fu in Ho Nan), 
passing, on his way, near the place in which Lao-tsz was 
born. He soon returned to Ts'ai, where he stayed three 
years. It will be observed that ever since 700 B.C. it had 
been the deliberate policy of Ts'u to annex or overshadow 

288 Ancient China Simplified 

as many of the orthodox states as possible, so that Ts'u's 
undoubtedly high literary output, in later years, is easily 
accounted for : in other words, Ts'u's northern population 
was now already orthodox Chinese. Moreover, it must not 
be forgotten that, even before the Chou conquest, one of the 
early Ts'u rulers was an author himself, and had been tutor 
to the father of the Chou founder : that means to say Ts'u 
was possibly always as literary as China. 

Meanwhile Ts'u and semi-barbarian Wu were contesting 
possession of Ch'en, and the King of Ts'u tried to secure 
by presents the services of Confucius, who had prudently 
transferred himself to a safe place in the open country lying 
between Ch'en and Ts'ai. The ministers of these two 
orthodox states, fearing the results to their own people should 
Confucius (as he seems in fact to have contemplated) decide 
to accept the Ts'u offer, with a police force surrounded the 
Confucian party ; they were only able to escape from starva- 
tion by sending word to the King, who at once sent a 
detachment to free the sage. He would have conferred a 
fief upon Confucius, but his ministers advised him of the 
danger of such a proceeding, seeing that the Chou dynasty 
conquered the empire after beginning with a petty fief, and 
that the great kingdom of Ts'u itself had arrived at its present 
greatness after beginning with a still smaller fief. Accord- 
ingly the sage decided to return to Wei (489), where several 
of his disciples received official posts, and where Confucius 
himself seems to have acted as unofficial adviser, especially 
in the matter of a contested succession. All this competition 
for, or at least jealousy of, Confucius' services proves that 
his repute as an administrator (not necessarily as a philo- 
sopher) was already widely spread. The following year the 
King of Wu appeared before the Lu capital, and one of 
Confucius' former disciples holding office there (the one who 
went in advance in 492) just succeeded in moderating the 

1. The dotted line shows the present Grand Canal ; the part between the 
Yang-tsz and Hwai Rivers was made by the King of Wu. The part north 
of the Hwai is chiefly the channel of the River Sz, flowing from the Lu capital 
into the Hwai. 

2. The old Hwai embouchure, running from the Lake Hung-tseh to the 
sea, no longer exists ; it dissipates itself in canals and salt flats. 

3. From 1852 the Yellow River has flowed north as depicted in the other 
maps. For several centuries previous to 185 1 it flowed as shown by the 
long-link-and-dot line, and took possession of the now extinct Hwai 

4. The crosses mark capitals. Ts'ai (two marked) and Hii (one marked) 
frequently shifted capitals. 

Ancient China Simplified 289 

barbarians' demands, which, however, only took the compara- 
tively harmless " spiritual " form of orthodox sacrificial victims. 
In 484 Confucius was still in Wei, for in that year he is 
stated to have declined to discuss there a question connected 
with making war. In the year 484 or 483 the disciple sent 
by Confucius to Lu, as stated, in 492 conducted an expedi- 
tion against Ts'i : this was the shameful period when 
orthodox Lu, in compulsory league with barbarous Wu, was 
playing a double and treacherous game under stress, and 
the question of recalling Confucius to save his native country 
was on the tapis. Hearing of this, and despite the heavy 
bribes offered him to stay by the ruler of Wei, Confucius 
started with alacrity for Lu, where he arrived safely after 
fourteen years of wandering. He is often stated to have 
visited over forty states in all ; but it must be remembered 
that each of the important countries he visited had in turn 
a number of satellites of its own ; as, for instance, the 
extremely ancient " marquess state " of Ki, or K'i, subordinate 
to Lu, which, though possessing great spiritual authority, had 
no weight in lay policy. An interesting point to notice is 
that Confucius' travels almost exactly coincide with those of 
the Second Protector 150 years earlier (see Chapter XXXIX.) ; 
both of them ignored the Emperor, and both of them visited 
Ts'i, Ts'ao, Sung, and Cheng on their way to the Ts'u 
frontiers ; but Confucius was not able to get much farther 
west so as to reach the Ts'u capital ; nor was he able to 
get to Tsin ; not to say the still more distant Ts'in. In 
other words, the limited centre of orthodox China remained 
for many centuries the same, and the vast regions surround- 
it were still semi-barbarian in the fifth century B.C. Now it 
was that Confucius, seeing that the imperial power had 
diminished almost to nothing ; that the Odes and Book, the 
Rites, and the Music no longer possessed their former influ- 
ence ; employed himself in making systematic search for 


290 Ancient China Simplified 

documents, in re-editing the Book (of History), and in 
endeavouring to ascertain the exact ritual or administration 
of the preceding dynasties. " Henceforth the Rites could be 
understood and transmitted," — from which we may assume 
that, up to this time, they had been practically a monopoly 
of the princely caste. He did not go further back into the 
mythical period than the two emperors who preceded the 
Hia dynasty, nor did he bring the Book farther down than 
to the time of Duke Muh of Ts'in, which practically means 
the time of the first Protectors. He really did for rites and 
history what he had blamed Tsz-ch'an for doing with the 
law: he popularized it. He also attempted with persistent 
study to master the Changes, to which incomprehensible 
work he added features of his own — very little more under- 
standable than the original texts. As to the Odes, 3000 in 
number, he used the pruning knife much more vigorously, 
and nine-tenths of them were rejected as unsuitable for the 
purposes of good didactic lessons or conservative precedents. 
If we substitute, as we are entitled to do, the vague word 
" religion " for the equally vague word " rites " (which in fact 
were the only ancient Chinese religion) ; if we substitute the 
empty Christian churches of to-day, and the too little 
scrupulous ambitions of rival European Powers, for the neg- 
lected tao of the Chou ideal, and for the savage rivalry of 
the great Chinese vassals ; we obtain an almost precisely 
similar situation in modern Europe. If we can imagine 
a great Pope, or a great philosopher, taking advantage of 
a turn in the European conscience to bring back the simple 
ideals of Christianity, we can easily imagine this European 
Confucius being universally hailed in future times as the 
saviour of a parlous situation ; which, in Europe now, as 2000 
years ago in China, entails on the people so much misery 
and suffering. Confucius was, in short, in a way, a Chinese 
Pius X. declaiming against Modernism. 

Ancient China Simplified 291 

Confucius' only certain original work was the "Springs 
and Autumns," which is practically a continuation (with the 
necessary introductory years) of the ancient Book edited or, 
as some think, composed by him. He brought the former, 
this history of his, down from 722 to 481 B.C. and died in 
479. His pupil Tso K'iu-ming, who was official historian to 
the Lu court, annotated and expounded Confucius' bald 
annals, bringing the narrative down from 48 1 to 468 ; and 
Tso's delightful work forms the chief, but by no means the 
sole, basis for what we have to say in the present book of 


Apart from the fact that reverence for rulers was the pivot of 
the Chou religious system, or, what was then the same thing, 
administrative system ; official historiographers, who were mere 
servants of the executive, had to be careful how they offended 
the executive power in those capricious days ; all the more had 
a private author and a retired official like Confucius carefully 
to mind the conventions. For instance, two historians had 
been put to death by a king-maker in Ts'i for recording the 
murder by him of a Ts'i reigning prince ; and Ts'i was but 
next door to Lu. Hence we find the leading feature of his 
work is that he hints rather than criticizes, suggests rather than 
condemns, conceals rather than exposes, when it is a question 
of class honour or divine right ; just as, with us, the Church 
prefers to hush up rather than to publish any unfortunate 
internal episode that would redound to its discredit. So 
shocked was he at the assassination of the ruler of Ts'i by an 
usurping family in 481, that, even at his venerable age, he 
unsuccessfully counselled instant war against Ts'i. His motive 
was perhaps doubtful, for the next year we find a pupil of his, 
then in office, going as a member of the mission to the same 
usurper in order to try and obtain a cession of territory 
improperly held. This pupil was one of the friends who 
assisted at the arrangement made in Wei in 492. Confucius' 
failings — for after all he was only a man, and never pretended 
to be a genius — in no way affect the truth of his writings, for 


Ancient China Simplified 293 

they were detected almost from the very beginning, and have 
never been in the least concealed. Notable instances are the 
mission from Lu to Ts c u in 634 ; Confucius conceals the fact 
that, not courtesy to barbarian Ts'u, but a desire to obtain 
vengeance against orthodox Ts'i was the true motive. Again, 
in 632, when the faineant Emperor was "sent for" by the 
Second Protector to preside at a durbar ; Confucius prefers to 
say : " His Majesty went to inspect his fiefs north of the river," 
thus even avoiding so much as to name the exact place, not to 
say describe the circumstances. He punishes the Emperor for 
an act of impropriety in 693 by recording him as " the King," 
instead of " the Heavenly King." On the other hand, in 598, 
even the barbarian King of Ts'u was " a sage," because, having 
conquered the orthodox state of Ch'en, he magnanimously 
renounced his conquest. In 529 the infamous ruler of the 
orthodox state of Ts'ai is recorded as being "solemnly 
buried " ; but the rule was that no " solemn funeral " should 
be accorded to (1) barbarians, (2) rulers who lose their crown, 
(3) murderers. Now, this ruler was a murderer ; but it was a 
barbarian state (Ts'u) that killed him, which insult to civiliza- 
tion must be punished by making two blacks one white, i.e. by 
giving the murdered murderer an orthodox funeral. Again, 
in 522, a high officer was " killed by robbers" ; it is explained 
that there were no robbers at all, in fact, but that the mere 
killing of an officer by a common person needs the assumption 
of robbery. It is like the legal fiction of lunacy in modern 
Chinese law to account for the heinous crime of parricide, and 
thus save the city from being razed to the ground. Once 
more, at the Peace Conference of 546, Ts'u undoubtedly 
" bluffed " Tsin out of her rightful precedence ; but, Tsin being 
an orthodox state, Confucius makes Tsin the diplomatic victor. 
We have already seen that he once deliberately broke his 
plighted word, meanly attacked the men who spared him ; and, 
out of servility, visited a woman of noble rank who was " no 

294 Ancient China Simplified 

better than she ought to have been." There is another little 
female indiscretion recorded against him. When, in 482, the 
Lu ruler's concubine, a Wu princess (imperial clan name), died, 
Confucius obsequiously went into mourning for an " incestuous " 
woman ; but, seeing immediately afterwards that the powerful 
family then at the helm did not condescend to do so, he some- 
what ignominiously took off his mourning in a hurry. All 
these, and numerous similar petty instances of timorousness, 
may appear to us at a remote distance trifling and pusillani- 
mous, as do also many of the model personal characteristics 
and goody-goody private actions of the sage ; but if we make 
due allowance for the difficulty of translating strange notions 
into a strange tongue, and for the natural absence of sympathy 
in trying to enter into foreign feelings, we may concede that 
these petty details, quite incidentally related, need in no way 
destroy the main features of a great picture. Few heroes look 
the character except in their native clothes and surroundings ; 
and, as Carlyle said, a naked House of Lords would look much 
less dignified than a naked negro conference. 

As a philosopher, Confucius in his own time had scarcely 
the reputation of Tsz-ch'an of Cheng, who in many respects 
seems to have been his model and guide. Much more is said 
of Tsz-ch'an's philosophy, of his careful definition of the ritual 
system, of his legal acumen, of his paternal care for the 
people's welfare ; but, like his contemporaries and friends of 
Ts'i, Tsin, Cheng, Sung, Wei ; and even of Wu and Yiieh ; he 
was working for the immediate good of his own state in times 
of dire peril ; whereas Confucius from first to last was aiming 
at the restoration of religion {i.e. of the imperial, ritualistic, 
feudal system) ; and for this reason it was that, after the violent 
unification of the empire by the First August Emperor in 
221 B.C., followed by his fall and the rise of the Han dynasty 
in 202 B.C., this latter house finally decided to venerate, 
and all subsequent houses have continued to venerate, 

Ancient China Simplified 295 

Confucius' memory ; because his system was, after Lao-tsz's 
system had been given a fair trial, at last found the best 
suited for peace and permanency. 

Not only is Lao-tsz not mentioned in the " Springs and 
Autumns" of Confucius, as extended by his contemporary 
and latter commentators, but none other of the great writers 
and philosophers anterior to and contemporary with Confucius 
are spoken of except strictly in their capacity of administrators. 
Thus the Ts'i philosopher Kwan-tsz of the First Protector's time, 
650 B.C. ; the Ts'i philosopher Yen-tsz of Confucius' time; and 
the others mentioned in preceding chapters, notably in Chapter 
XV. (of whom each orthodox state of political importance can 
boast at least one) ; based their reputation on what they had 
achieved for the state rather than what they had taught in the 
abstract ; and their economical and historical books, which have 
all come down to us in a more or less complete and authentic 
state, are valued for the expression they give to the definite 
theories by which they arrived at practical results, rather than 
for the preaching of the counsels of perfection. We have seen 
that Yen-tsz expressed rather a contempt for the (to him) out- 
of-date formalistic ideals of Confucius, though Confucius him- 
self had a high opinion of Yen-tsz. Lao-tsz is first mentioned 
by the writers of the various " schools " brought into existence 
by the collapse of Tsin in 452 B.C., and its subdivision into 
three separate kingdoms, recognized as such by the puppet 
Emperor in 403 B.C. The diplomatic activity was soon after 
that quite extraordinary, and each of the seven royal courts 
became a centre of revolutionary thought ; that is, every literary 
adventurer had his own views of what interpretation of ancient 
literature was best suited to the times : it was Modernism 
with a vengeance. There is ample evidence of Lao-tsz's 
influence upon the age, though Lao-tsz himself had been dead 
for a century or more in the year 403. Lao-tsz is spoken of 
and written about in the fourth century B.C. as though it were 

296 Ancient China Simplified 

perfectly well known who he was, and what his sentiments 
were ; but as, up to Confucius' time, state intercourse had 
been confined to traders, warriors, and officials of the princely 
castes ; and as books had been unwieldy objects stored only in 
capitals and great centres ; there is good reason to assume that 
philosophy had been taught almost entirely by word of mouth, 
and that something must have occurred shortly after his death 
to cheapen and facilitate the dissemination of literature. 
Probably this something was the gradual introduction of the 
practice of writing on silk rolls and on silk " paper," which 
practice is known to have been in vogue long before the 
discovery of rubbish paper A.D. 100. Confucius himself 
evidently made use of the old-fashioned bamboo slips, strung 
together by cords like a bundle of tickets ; for we are told 
that he worked so hard in endeavouring to understand the 
" Changes," i that he " wore out three sets of leather bands" ; and 
it will be remembered from Chapter XXXV. how the Bamboo 
Books buried in 299 B.C., to be discovered nearly 600 years 
later, consisted of slips strung together in this way. 

Confucius' movements during the fourteen years of his 
exile are very clearly marked out, and there seems to be no 
doubt that his visit to the Emperor's court took place when he 
was a young man ; firstly, because Lao-tsz ironically calls him 
a young man, and secondly because he went to visit Lao-tsz 
with the son of the statesman who on his death-bed foretold 
Confucius' future distinction ; and there was no Lu mission to 
the imperial court after 520. In the second century B.C., not 
only are there a dozen statesmen specifically stated to have 
studied the works of Lao-tsz, but the Empress herself is said 
to have possessed his book ; and a copy of it, distinctly said to 
be in ancient character, was then stored amongst other copies 
of the same book in the imperial library. The two questions 
which the Chinese historians and literary men of the fifth, 
fourth, third, and second centuries B.C. do not attempt to decide 

Ancient China Simplified 297 

are : Why is the life of Lao-tsz not given to us earlier than 
100 B.C. ? Why is that life so scant, and why does the writer 
of it allude to " other stories " current about him ? Why is it 
that the book which Lao-tsz wrote at the request of a friend is 
not alluded to by any writer previous to 100 B.C. ? 

As not one single one of these numerous Taoists or students 
of Lao-tsz expresses the faintest doubt about Lao-tsz's exist- 
ence, or about the genuineness of his traditional teachings, it is 
evident that the meagreness of Lao-tsz's life, as told by the 
historian, is rather a guarantee of the truth of what he says 
than the reverse, so far as he knows the truth ; otherwise he 
would have certainly embellished. The essence of Lao-tsz's 
doctrine is its democracy, its defence of popular rights, its 
allusion to kings and governments as necessary evils, its 
disapproval of luxury and hoarding wealth ; its enthusiasm for 
the simple life, for absence of caste, for equality of oppor- 
tunity, for socialism and informality ; all of which was, though 
extracted from the same Odes, Book, Changes, and Rites, 
quite contrary in principle to the " back to the rites " doctrine 
of Confucius. Therefore, there could be no possible induce- 
ment for Confucius, the pruning editor of the Odes, Book, etc., 
or for his admirers, to mention Lao-tsz in either his original 
work, the "Springs and Autumns," or in the other works 
(composed by his disciples) giving the original words and 
sentiments of Confucius. Besides, during the whole of 
Lao-tsz's life, the imperial court (where he served as a clerk) 
was totally ignored by all the " powers " as a political force ; 
the only persons mentioned in what survives of Chou history 
are the historiographers, the wizards, the ritual clerks, the 
ducal envoys, now sent by the Emperor to the vassals, now 
consulted by the vassals upon matters of etiquette. Lao-tsz, 
being an obscure clerk in an obscure appanage, and holding 
no political office, had no more title to be mentioned in history 
than any other servant or "harmless drudge." That his 

298 Ancient China Simplified 

doctrines were well known is not wonderful, for Tsz-ch'an, 
his contemporary, and this great man's colleagues of the other 
states, also had doctrines of their own which were widely 
discussed ; and, as we have seen, even Tsz-ch'an was severely 
blamed for the unheard-of novelty of committing the laws to 
writing, both by Confucius of Lu and by Shuh Hiang of Tsin 
(imperial clan states). It is reasonable to suppose, therefore, 
that the traditional story is true ; namely, that Lao-tsz's 
doctrines were never taught in a school at all, and that he had 
no followers or admirers except the vassal envoys who used 
to come on spiritual business to the metropolis. We have 
seen how these men used to entertain each other over their 
wine by quoting the Odes and other ancient saws ; when con- 
sulting the imperial library to rectify their own dates, they 
would naturally meet the old recluse Lao-tsz, and hear from 
his own mouth what he thought of the coming collapse 
anticipated by all. He is said to have left orthodox China in 
disgust, and gone West — well, he must have passed through 
Ts'in if he went to the west. At the frontier pass (it is not 
known precisely whether on the imperial frontier or on the 
Ts'in frontier) an acquaintance or correspondent on duty there 
invited him to put his thoughts into writing, which he did. 
Books being extremely rare, copies would be slowly trans- 
mitted. This was about 500 B.C., between which time and 
200 B.C., when a copy of his book is first reported to be 
actually held in the hand by a definite person, the great 
protecting powers, and later the seven kings, were all engaged 
in a bloodthirsty warfare, which ended in the almost total 
destruction throughout the empire of the Odes, Rites, and 
the Book in 213 B.C. Remember, however, that the literary 
empire practically meant parts of the modern provinces of 
Ho Nan and Shan Tung. The " Changes " were not destroyed ; 
and as the First August Emperor himself, his illegitimate 
father, several of his statesmen, and his visitors the travelling 

Ancient China Simplified 299 

diplomats, were all either Taoists or imbued with Taoist 
doctrines (their sole policy being to destroy the old ritual and 
feudal thrones), there is ground to conjecture that Lao-tsz's 
book escaped too, and was deliberately suffered to escape. 
We know absolutely nothing of that ; assuming the truth of 
the tradition that there was a book, we do not know what 
became of the first copy, nor how many copies were made of 
it during the succeeding 300 years. No attempt whatever has 
ever been made by the serious Chinese historians themselves 
to manufacture a story. It is, of course, unsatisfactory not to 
know all the exact truth ; but, for the matter of that, the 
existence, identity, and authorship of Confucius' pupil and 
commentator Tso K'iu-ming, the official historian of Lu, is 
equally obscure ; not to mention the history of the earliest 
Taoist critics who actually mention Lao-tsz, and quote the words 
of (if they do not mention) his book. When we read Rinan's 
masterly examination into the origins of our own Gospels, and 
when we reflect that even the origin of Shakespeare's plays, 
and the individuality of Shakespeare's person, are open to ever- 
lasting discussion, we may not unreasonably leave Chinese 
critics and Chinese historians to judge of the value of their 
own national evidence, and accept in general terms what they 
tell us of fact, however imperfect it may be in detail, without 
adding hypothetical facts or raising new critical difficulties of 
our own. No such foreign criticisms are or can be worth much 
unless the original Chinese histories and the original Chinese 
philosophers have been carefully examined by the foreign 
critic in the original Chinese text. 


CONSULTING the oracles seems to have been a universal 
practice, and there are numerous historical allusions, made 
by statesmen of the orthodox principalities, to supposed 
interpretations attached to this or that combination of 
mystic signs or diagrams from the " Changes," together 
with arguments as to their specific meaning or omen in 
given circumstances. Doubtless the Chinese of those dates, 
like our own searchers for religious " analogies " and mysteries, 
examined with perfect good faith combinations of the 
Diagrams which to us appear arrant nonsense ; and there 
can be no doubt of Confucius' own individual zeal, though 
the fact that he thought fifty years' study at least would be 
necessary for full comprehension points to the tacit confession 
that he had totally failed to understand much of the mystery. 
The Changes are supposed to have been developed by the 
father of the Warrior King when (about 1160 B.C.) he was 
in prison under the tyrannous suspicions of the last Shang 
emperor ; and we have seen that the ruler of Ts'u was his 
tutor, at a time when Ts'u was not yet vassal to Chou. Like 
the Odes, Book, and Rites, the Changes were Chou literature, 
though possibly the unwritten traditions of earlier dynasties 
may have contributed to that literature ; which, indeed, seems 
very likely, as Ts'u was already able to teach Chou. 

Another form of augury was the examination of the 
marks on the carapax of a tortoise ; thus the Martial King 


Ancient China Simplified 301 

in 1 1 46 consulted, and found unfavourable, such marks — this 
was before attacking the last Shang emperor ; and it was 
only at the earnest instigation of his chief henchman (after- 
wards vassal king and founder of Ts'i) that he was prevailed 
upon to proceed. Possibly he borrowed Eastern ideas from 
this founder of Ts'i too. Later on, the Martial King's younger 
brother, the Duke of Chou, consulted the oracle along with 
the same Ts'i adviser : this was done before the three ancestral 
altars of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, in 
order to ascertain if the Emperor (i.e. the Martial King) would 
recover from a sickness. In 1109 the Martial King's son 
and successor sent one of his uncles or near relatives to 
examine the site of modern Ho-nan Fu, with a view to 
transferring the metropolis thither, and, the oracles being 
favourable, the Nine Tripods were removed to that place, and it 
was afterwards called the " Eastern Metropolis " (the original 
or western capital was not moved for over 300 years after that). 
It was at the same time foretold that there would be thirty 
more reigns, of 700 years in all : this was " Heaven's decree." 
On the other hand, when the Duke of Chou died during 
a tempest, the young Emperor was advised not to consult 
the oracles as to what the storm signified, because his uncle's 
virtues were so manifest that Heaven itself had, by the agency 
of a tempest, spontaneously announced the fact. 

Astrology was another form of soothsaying. In 780 B.C. 
the imperial astrologer (one of those two men, by the way, 
whom erroneous tradition 1000 years later confused with 
Lao-tsz) foretold the rise of Ts'i, Tsin, Ts'u, and Ts'in upon 
the ruins of the imperial power ; in 773 the same astrologer 
repeated the prophecy to the imperial prince then recently 
enfeoffed by his relative the Emperor in the state of Cheng. 
In 705 the imperial astrologer, when passing through the 
orthodox state of Ch'en, foretold from the diagrams that a scion 
of the Ch'en house would obtain the throne of Ts'i (which 

302 Ancient China Simplified 

actually took place when the maire du palais> to the horror 
of Confucius, assassinated the last legitimate duke in 48 1 B.C.) ; 
this particular prophecy is doubly interesting, because the 
diagrams from the Changes, thus cited in detail in Confucius' 
history, correspond exactly with the diagrams of the Book 
of Changes as we have it now, since Confucius manipulated 
it — proof that no change has taken place in this part of the 
text at least. 

The ruler of Ts'in in the year 762, nine years after re- 
ceiving the western half of the Chou imperial domain, and 
being recognized as a first-class vassal, consulted the oracle 
as to whither he should move his own capital. In the year 
677 the oracles once more decided the then reigning ruler 
to shift his capital to (the modern) Feng-siang Fu in West 
Shen Si ; the oracles added : " And later you will water your 
steeds in the Yellow River " ; which came to pass after the 
conquests and annexations of 643 B.C., as already related. 
In 374 B.C. the imperial astrologer (the second man whom 
tradition, 300 years later this time, erroneously confused with 
Lao-tsz) then on a visit to the now royal Ts'in court said : 
" After 500 years of separation Ts'in is reunited to our imperial 
house ; in 77 years more a domineering monarch will arise." 
Seven years later the " raining down of metal " (probably some 
natural phenomenon not clearly understood at the time) was 
considered a good omen in connection with the new capital, 
now placed on the south bank of the River Wei. After Ts'in 
had conquered China, there are numerous other instances of 
oracles, omens, and so forth, all supposed to have had political 

In 645 the ruler of the neighbouring state of Tsin consults 
the oracles in order to ascertain who will be the most suitable 
war charioteer. A few years before that the court diviner 
foretold the future success of the petty Ngwei sub-principality 
of Tsin, which in 403 B.C. actually became a separate vassal 

Ancient China Simplified 303 

kingdom. In 575 Tsin dared not, at the moment, accept 
the battle challenge of Tsu, because the particular day 
was a dies nefas> being the last day of the moon. Mean- 
while the spies of the Ts'u army discerned that the Tsin 
leaders were consulting the oracles before the tablets of their 
ancestors in the field tent. In 535 the Ts'in administration 
consulted its own astrologer upon the point : " Will the state 
of Ch'en survive ? " The answer was : " When it secures Ts'i, 
it will perish." As just explained, a scion of the Ch'en house 
did practically obtain Ts'i in 481 B.C., and the very next year 
Ch'en was annexed by Ts'u. In 510 the Tsin astrologer 
prophesied the destruction of Wu by Yiieh within forty years, 
and also the predominancy of the Lu private family so in- 
timately connected with Confucius' troubles. There were 
not lacking sensible men, even in those days, who ridiculed 
the science of astrology : for instance, Shuh Hiang of Tsin — 
the man who so strongly disapproved Tsz-ch'an's written laws, 
and the man who discussed with the Ts'i envoy, the philo- 
sopher Yen-tsz, the worthlessness of their respective dukes — 
said on one occasion when the u course of the heavens towards 
north-west " was supposed to indicate a success for Tsin : 
"The course of the heavens, as that of our success, lies in 
the qualities of the prince, and not in the situation of the stars." 
Tsz-ch'an of Cheng himself pooh-poohed oracular warnings, 
and said that he preferred to do his best, and leave omens 
to do their worst. On one occasion, outside the south gate 
of the Cheng capital, two snakes (one from the city, one from 
outside) were observed fighting ; the one from the inside 
was defeated. Sure enough ! the exiled duke six years 
after that returned to his own. So, in the state of Lu, the 
children sang : " When the thrushes come and make their 
nests, the ruler will go to a place on the Tsin frontier ; when 
the thrushes settle here, the duke will be abroad" — in 
allusion to the future ejecting of the reigning prince by the 

304 Ancient China Simplified 

powerful family above referred to. And, again (480 B.C.), 
in the state of Sung, whose terrestrial position was supposed 
to be "invaded" by the then peculiar celestial position of 
the planet Mars : it was suggested, however, to the ruling 
prince that he might "pass on" the threatened disaster to 
his ministers, to his people, or to their harvests — a solution 
the duke declined to avail himself of. "Yours are indeed 
the words of a sage," said the astrologer. 

We now come to the semi-civilized state of Ts'u, which 
seems to have had its oracles with the best of them, at all 
events after 560 B.C. At that date it was explained to the 
King that "the ancient emperors would at times consult 
the oracles for five years before deciding upon an expedition, 
or fixing the date of it ; they were content to await patiently 
the decrees of Heaven." In 537 the Ts'u king, having 
a prince of Wu in his power, sent to ask him ironically if 
he had duly consulted the oracles. "Yes," said the prince, 
"every ruler has his tortoise, and it is easy to demonstrate 
by our oracles how injurious it will be for you if any harm 
comes to me." This presence of mind saved his life. In 
528 a Ts'u usurper invited a man who had once assisted him 
to name any post he would like. The man chose that of 
diviner, which, it appears, was an office of the first rank. The 
father of this king had secretly arranged with a concubine, 
notwithstanding the Ts ( u rule (or possibly in accordance with 
it) that one of the youngest sons should succeed, to " sacrifice 
from a distance to the gods in general, and ask of them 
which of five sons should sacrifice to the spirits of the land " ; 
then he buried a jade symbol of rule in the ancestral temple, 
and ordered the five sons to enter after proper purification ; 
the three sons who happened to touch the spot reigned one 
after the other. In 489 the King of Ts'u, then engaged 
in assisting the orthodox state of Ch'en against the attacks 
of Wu, interrogated the imperial astrologer (who must have 

Ancient China Simplified 305 

been there on a visit) : " What is the meaning of that halo, 
like a bird's wings, on each side of the sun ? " The astrologer 
replied : " It presages calamity, but you can transfer it to your 
generals." The generals then offered to consult the gods them- 
selves, and even to sacrifice their own persons if necessary ; 
but the King declined (on the same ground as the Duke 
of Sung above mentioned) because "my generals are my 
own limbs." It was then proposed to transfer the calamity 
to the Yellow River. " No, the Yellow River has never 
played me false : ever since we received our fief, we have 
never at full moon sacrificed beyond the River Han and 
Yang-tsz." Confucius registered his approval of this answer. 
It will be remembered that just at this time Confucius was 
hanging about Ch'en and coquetting with Ts'u, so that 
possibly this approval had something to do with his own 

In recording these instances of prophecies and omens 
(which might be multiplied tenfold), it is desired to show 
how one main set of ideas pervaded the whole. We should 
not be too ready to ridicule them, or to hint at "after the 
event." Our own Scriptures are full of similar prophecies, 
and what is good for us is good for the Chinese. If the 
celestial movements can be foretold, why not corresponding 
terrestrial movements, each corner of the earth being on the 
meridian of something ? In the infancy of science, it is 
rather a question of good faith than of truth ; and even the 
truth, if we insist on expecting it, was rudely guessed at by 
such great thinkers as Tsz-ch'an and Shuh Hiang. 



A FEATURE of the times was the remarkably personal 
character of the wars, and the apparent utter indifference to 
humble popular interests ; Quidquid delirant reges> plectuntur 
Achivi ; stress is laid upon this point by the democratic 
philosopher Lao-tsz, who, however, in his book (be it genuine 
or not), is wise enough never to name a person or place ; 
probably that prudence saved it from the flames in 213 B.C. 

In 684 B.C. the ruler of Ts'ai (imperial clan) treated 
very rudely his own wife's sister, married to a petty prince 
(imperial clan) close by ; the sister was simply passing 
through as a traveller ; the result was that this petty prince, 
her husband, induced Ts'u to make war upon Ts'ai, whose 
reigning prince was captured, and died a prisoner. In 657 
the ruler of Ts'ai had a sister married in Ts'i. The First 
Protector, offended at some act of playful disobedience, 
sent her back, but without actually divorcing her. Her 
brother was so angry that he found her another husband. 
On this Ts'i declared war, and captured the brother, who, 
however, at the intercession of the other vassal princes, 
was restored to his kingdom. In 509 and 506 B.C. Ts'ai 
induces Tsin to make war on Ts'u, and also assists Wu 
in her hostilities against Ts'u, because a Ts'u minister had 
detained the ruler of Ts'ai for refusing to part with a hand- 
some fur coat. It is like the stealing of the Golden Fleece 
by Jason, and similar Greek squabbles. 


Ancient China Simplified 307 

In 675 B.C. the Emperor, for the third time, had to fly 
from his capital, the immediate cause of the trouble being an 
attempt on his part to seize a vassal's rice-field for including 
in his own park — a Chinese version of the Naboth's vineyard 
dispute. Nothing could better prove the pettiness of the 
ancient state-horizon ; no busily active great power could 
find time for such trifles. 

When the Second Protector came to the throne, the 
orthodox states of Wei, Ts'ao, and Cheng (all of the imperial 
clan), which had treated him scurvily as a wanderer, had 
all three of them to pay dearly for their meanness. In 632, 
when the Protector had secured the Tsin throne, the ruler 
of Ts'ao was promptly captured, and part of his territory 
was given to Sung (where the wanderer had been well 
treated). The same year Tsin wished to assist Sung, and 
accordingly asked right of way through the state of Wei, 
which was curtly refused ; the Tsin army therefore crossed 
the Yellow River to the south of Wei : as a punishment for 
this refusal, and also for the previous rude treatment, Wei 
also had to give part of her territory to the favoured Sung. 
In 630 Tsin induced Ts'in to join in an attack upon Cheng, 
the object being, of course, to revenge similar personal rude- 
nesses ; however, Cheng diplomacy was successful in inducing 
Ts'in to abandon Tsin in the nick of time : this was one 
of the very few cases in which Ts'in interfered, or was about 
to interfere, in "orthodox" affairs. In 592 Tsin sent a 
hunchback envoy to Ts'i ; it so happened that at the same 
time Lu sent one who was lame, and Wei a third who was 
blind of one eye. The Ts'i ruler thereupon appointed an 
officer mutilated in some other way to do the duties of 
host to this sorry trio. The Tsin envoy swore : " If I do 
not revenge this upon Ts'i, may the God of the Yellow 
River take note of it ! " Reaching his own country, he tried 
to induce the ruler to make war on Ts'i ; but the prince said : 

308 Ancient China Simplified 

"Your personal pique should hardly suffice for ground to 
trouble the whole country " : and he refused. 

The principle of the divinity that doth hedge a king was 
early established, but there are certainly more numerous 
evidences of royal absolutism in Ts'u than in orthodox China, 
where responsibility of rulers before Heaven and the People 
(symbolical of Heaven also) was an accepted axiom. For 
instance, in 522 B.C., an officer, knowing that the King of Ts'u 
was sending for him in order to kill him, said to his brother : 
" As the king orders it, one of us two must go, but you can 
avenge me later on." When the next Ts'u king was a fugitive, 
and it was a question in a subject's mind of killing him 
because his father had taken a brother's life, it was objected : 
" No ! if the king slays one of his officers, who can avenge it ? 
His commands emanate from Heaven. It is unpardonable to 
cut off the ancestral sacrifice of a whole house in this way." 

In still more ancient times, when the last Emperor of the 
Shang dynasty was being warned of the rising popular feeling 
in favour of the rising Chou power, he remarked : " Have I 
not Heaven's mandate ? What can they do to me ? " When 
the Martial King achieved his conquest, he smeared the god 
of the soil with the sacrificial victims' blood, and announced 
the crimes of the dead tyrant to Heaven. In the war of 589 
between Tsin and Ts'i, the ruler of Ts'i, who had changed 
places with his charioteer in order to escape detection, was 
hotly pursued ; but his chariot caught in a tree. Seeing this, 
the Tsin captain prostrated himself before the chariot, and 
said : " My princely master's orders are to assist the states of 
Lu and Wei " (i.e. not to attack your person). Meanwhile the 
disguised charioteer ordered the disguised king to fetch a 
drink of water, and the king thus escaped even the humiliation 
of a favour from his generous victor. When in 548 a worthless 
Ts'i ruler was assassinated, the philosopher Yen-tsz said : 
" When the ruler dies or is exiled for the gods of the land and 

Ancient China Simplified 309 

its harvests, one dies or is exiled with him ; but if he dies or 
is exiled for private reasons, then only his personal friends die 
with him." He therefore contented himself with wailing, and 
with laying his head on the royal body. The same Tsin 
captain who was so tender to the Ts'i duke in 589 had an 
opportunity fourteen years later of taking prisoner the ruler of 
Cheng in battle ; but he said : " Evil cometh to him who 
toucheth a crowned head ! I have already committed sacrilege 
once against the ruler of Ts'i ; preserve me from committing 
this crime a second time ! " And he turned promptly back. 
During the same fight, the King of Ts'u's body-guard was 
attacked by the Tsin generalissimo, who, when he discerned the 
king in the centre of the guards, got out of his chariot, doffed 
his helmet, and fled in horror, " such was his respect for the 
person of royalty." It was a ritual rule in China for the dis- 
tinguished men not to remove the official head-covering in 
death; for instance, in 481, when one of Confucius' pupils 
was killed in war, his last patriotic act was to tie his hat- 
strings tighter. Though rulers were supposed to owe duties 
to the gods in general, yet the power of the gods was limited. 
Thus when Tsz-ch'an of Cheng was sent as envoy to Tsin in 
541, the sick Tsin ruler asked him : " How can the two gods 
who, they say, are responsible for my malady, be conjured ? " 
Tsz-ch'an replied : " These particular gods cannot injure you ; 
we sacrifice to them in connection with natural phenomena, 
such as drought, flood, or other disaster ; just as in matters of 
snow, hail, rain, or wind we sacrifice to the gods of the sun, 
moon, planets, and constellations. Your illness is the result 
of drink, over-feeding, women, passionate anger, excessive 
pleasure." Shuh Hiang approved this common-sense view of 
the situation. 



In the spring of the year 536 B.C., Tsz-ch'an, one of the leading 
statesmen in the Chinese Federal Union, decided to publish for 
popular information the Criminal Law which had hitherto been 
simply " declared " by the various rulers and their officers according 
to the circumstances of each case. At this time the different premiers 
and ministers used to visit each other freely, generally in the suite of 
the reigning prince who happened to be either receiving or paying a 
visit from or to some other vassal prince. The Emperor himself, 
now shorn of his power, was only primus inter pares amongst these 
princes. Shuh Hiang, one of the ministers at the neighbouring court 
of Tsin, addressed the following remarkable letter to the colleague 
above mentioned who had introduced the legal innovation. It is 
published in extenso in Confucius' own history of the times, as 
expanded by one of his pupils : — 

"At first I used to regard you as a guide, but now all this is at an 
end. Our monarchs in past times were wont to decide matters by specific 
ordinance, and had no prepared statutes, fearing lest the people should 
grow contentious. Yet even so it was impossible to suppress wrong- 
doing ; for which reason they employed justice as a preventive, adminis- 
tration to bring things into line, external formality to secure respect, good 
faith as an abiding principle, and kindness in actual treatment. They 
appointed certain ranks and emoluments with a view to encouraging their 
officers to follow the course thus sketched out for them, and they fixed 
certain stern punishments and fines in order to fill these officers with a 
dread of arbitrariness, fearing that otherwise they might fail in their duty. 
Thus admonition was given with every loyalty ; fear was inspired by 
personal example ; instruction was conveyed as occasion required ; 
employment in service was accompanied by suavity ; contact with inferiors 
was marked by a respectful demeanour ; the executive arm was firmly 
applied ; and decisions were carried out with virility. Yet, with all this, 
it was never too easy to secure wise and saintly (vassal) princes, clever 
and discriminating ministers, loyal and trusty officials, or kind and affec- 
tionate instructors. Under these circumstances, however, it was possible 


312 Ancient China Simplified 

to set the people going, and China was at least free from revolution 
and misery. 

" But when the people themselves become cognizant of a written law, 
they will cease to fear their superiors, and, moreover, they will acquire a 
contentious spirit. Having book to refer to, they will employ every 
device to elude the letter of the law. This will not do at all. It was 
only in times of anarchical rule that the founders of the Hia and Shang 
dynasties (2200 B.C. and 1760 B.C.) found it necessary to issue (to their 
officers) the collections of laws which still bear their two respective 
names ; and it was also only in anarchical times (1000 B.C.) that one 
Emperor of our present dynasty found it necessary to publish (for his 
officers) the so-called Nine Laws. In other words, the advent of written 
law has on all three occasions connoted a decay in government. You, 
sir, are the chief minister of Cheng state (part of modern Ho Nan) ; you 
made a few years ago some new regulations about the parcelling of land ; 
next you placed the system of your taxation on a fresh basis ; and you 
now proceed to embody the three special collections just cited in a new 
popular code, which you have had cast in metal characters. If you are 
doing it with a view to pacify the people, surely you will not find this an 
easy matter ? The ' Book of Odes ' says : * King Wen (the virtual founder, 
1 1 50 B.C., of the then reigning Chou dynasty) took virtue as his guide, 
and thus gradually pacified the four quarters of the world.' It also says : 
' The methods of King Wu (son of the virtual founder) secured the con- 
fidence of all the other countries.' Where were the written laws in those 
times ? When people begin to get the contentious spirit upon them, they 
will have done with the principles of propriety, and only stickle for the 
letter ; they will haggle upon every tiny point accessible to knife's edge 
or awl's tip. We shall witness a flood of litigious accusations ; bribery 
and corruption will be rampant. Do you think the state of Cheng will 
last out your life ? I have heard it said : ' When a country is about to 
collapse, there are many conflicting administrative changes.' Will this 
apply to present conditions ? " 

The reply returned was : — 

" With regard to what my honourable friend has been pleased to say, 
I am afraid my humble capacities are not sufficiently great to take in the 
interests of posterity ; my action has been taken in the interests of the 
state as I find it, and as I have to govern it. Though, therefore, I cannot 
accept your commands, I shall be careful not to forget your kindness in 
proffering advice." 

Though the exact words of the above-mentioned Code in Brass 
have not come down to us, they are (like the Twelve Tables of 
Rome, eighty years later in date, were in relation to Roman juris- 
prudence) the foundation of Chinese Criminal Law as it exists to-day, 
modified, of course, dynasty by dynasty. At this time Confucius was 

Ancient China Simplified 313 

a mere youth ; but later on, as minister of a third vassal state, that 
of Lu, he also expressed his disapproval of a written code, much 
though he respected the author, whom he knew personally. Shuh 
Hiang's letter is of interest as showing the pitch of philosophy, 
common-sense, and international courtesy to which the statesmen 
of China had attained 2400 years ago. 


In 539 B.C. the Ts'i statesman and philosopher Yen-tsz was sent on 
a mission to Tsin in order to negotiate a political marriage. At this 
period Han K'i, also called Han Siian-tsz, was the premier of Tsin, 
and he despatched the minister Shuh Hiang with a complimentary 
message to the Ts'i envoy, accepting the offer of a suitable wife. At 
this time the diplomatic relations of the Chinese states were par- 
ticularly interesting, because, apart from the fact that intellectual 
premiers ruled all the great states, most of them were personal 
friends, acquaintances, or correspondents of Confucius, who has left 
on record his judgment upon each. After the official marriage nego- 
tiations were over, Shuh Hiang ordered refreshments, and he and 
Yen-tsz sat down to a nice quiet little chat by themselves. 

Shuh Hiang. How is Ts'i going on ? 

Yen-tsz. These are bad times. I don't know what I can say about 
Ts'i, except that it appears to be falling into the hands of the Ch'en 
family. The prince neglects his people, and consequently they turn to 
the Ch'6n family for protection. In former times Ts'i had three grain 
measures, each a four multiple of the other — i.e. four pints, sixteen pints, 
sixty-four pints — and finally there was a large measure containing ten 
times the last, or 640 pints (or litres) ; but the three measures of the 
Ch'en family have each been raised by one unit, so that three successive 
fives multiplied by ten give 800 pints, and their plan is to make loans of 
grain with their private 800-pint measure, and then to take back payments 
in the prince's measure. The wood from the mountains is sold in the 
market-place as cheaply as on the mountains ; fish, salt, clams, and 
cockles are sold in the market-place as cheaply as on the shore. On the 
other hand, two-thirds of the produce of the people's labour go to the 
prince, whilst only one-third remains for the sustenance of the producers. 
The prince's stores rot away, whilst our old men die of starvation. False 
feet are cheaper than shoes in the market-place (owing to the number of 
people punished with amputation of a foot) ; the people are smarting 
with a sense of wrong, and are longing for the advent (of the Ch'en 

314 Ancient China Simplified 

family), whom they love as a parent, and towards whom they tend, just 
as water runs downhill. Under these circumstances, even if they did 
not want to gain the people over, how can they avoid it ? The last sur- 
viving member of that branch of the Ch'en family who traced his descent 
to previous dynasties has still left his spirit in the land of Ts'i, though 
the representatives of the family are nominally subjects of Ts'i. 

Shuh Hiang, Yes. And even our ruling house of Tsin has fallen on 
degenerate times. Armies are no longer equipped, and our statesmen 
are not ready for war. There is no one to lead the chariots, and our 
battalions have no competent commanders. The common people are 
utterly exhausted, whilst the extravagance of the palace is unbounded. 
The starving folk line the roads, whilst money is squandered upon female 
favourites. The commands of the prince are received by the people as 
though they longed to escape the clutches of a bandit. The representa- 
tives of the eight leading families who have served the state so long and 
faithfully are reduced to the most insignificant offices. Government is 
administered in certain private interests, and the people have no one to 
whom to appeal. The ruler shows no sign of amendment, and endeavours 
to drown his cares in excessive indulgence. When did the ruling house 
ever before reach the low depths of to-day ? The warning oracle inscribed 
on the tripod says : " However early you may get to zealous work, your 
descendants may be lazy." How much more, in the case of a man who 
will not reform, is disaster likely to be impending soon ! 

Yen-tsz. What do you propose to do ? 

Shuh Hia?ig. The ruling house of Tsin is about exhausted. I have 
heard it said that when a ruling house is about to fall, its family members 
drop off first, like the branches and leaves of a stricken tree ; and the 
ruler himself, like the trunk, follows suit. Take my own stock, for 
instance, which formerly contained eleven family or clan names. The 
Sheepstongue (cf. English Sheepshanks) clan is my clan, and the only 
one now left ; and I myself have no son fit to be my heir. The ruling 
house is arbitrary and capricious, so that, even if I am fortunate enough 
to die in my bed myself, I shall have no one to perform the sacra for me. 

In 513 B.C. two generals of the Tsin state carried their arms into 
the Luh-hun reservation (in modern Ho Nan province), whither, in 
638 B.C., the Tartar tribe of that name had been brought to settle by 
agreement between the two Chinese powers whose territories (Ts'in 
and Tsin) ran with the Tartars; "and then they drew upon Tsin 
state for four cwt. of iron, in order to cast a punishment tripod upon 
which to inscribe the law-book composed by Fan Suan-tsz (a minister)." 

Confucius said : — 

" It looks as though Tsin were about to perish, as it has made a mistake 
in its calculations. The state of Tsin ought to govern its people by 
maintaining the ancient laws and ordinances received by their ancestor 

Ancient China Simplified 315 

who was first enfeoffed there (in 1120 B.C.)) when the officers of state 
would each observe the same in their degree. Thus the people would 
know how to respect their superiors, and the ruling classes would be in a 
position to maintain their patrimonies. The proper balance between 
superior classes and commoners is what we call * ordinance.' The ruling 
prince Wen (who assumed the Protectorship of China in 632 B.C.) for this 
reason established an official body of dignitaries, and organized the annual 
spring revision of the laws of his ancestors as Representative Federal 
Prince. Now Tsin abandons this system, and makes a tripod, which 
tripod will henceforth govern the people's acts. How can they now 
respect their superiors (having book to go by) ? How can the superiors 
maintain their patrimonies? If superiors and commoners confuse degree, 
how can the state go on ? Moreover, Suan-tsz's punishments date from 
the spring revision (of 62 1 B.C.), when confusion and change was going 
on in Tsin state ; how can they take this as a fit precedent ? " 


About twenty-five centuries ago — in 546 B.C., to be precise — the 
Chinese Powers had a " Hague Conference " with a view to the re- 
duction of armaments. This is how Confucius' pupil, Tso K'iu-ming, 
tells the story in the " Tso Chwan," or expanded version of Confucius' 
" Springs and Autumns " (for convenience the names of the ancient 
States are changed to those of the modern provinces correspond- 
ing with them) : — 

" A statesman of Ho Nan, being on friendly terms with his colleagues 
of Shan Si and Hu Peh, conceived the idea of making a name for him- 
self by proposing a cessation of armaments. He went first to Shan Si, 
and interviewed the Premier there ; the Premier consulted his colleagues 
in the Shan Si ministry, and one of them said : 'War is ruinous to the 
people, and a fearful waste of wealth ; it is the curse of the smaller 
Powers. Although the idea will come to nothing, we must consent to a 
conference ; otherwise Hu Peh will consent to it first, in order to gain 
favour with the Powers, and thus we shall lose the predominant position 
we now occupy.' So Shan Si consented. 

"Then (the narrative continues) Hu Peh was visited, and also con- 
sented. Then Shan Tung (the German sphere now). Shan Tung did 
not like the idea ; but one of the Shan Tung Ministers said : ■ Shan Si 
and Hu Peh have agreed, and we have no help for it. Besides, the 
world will say that there would be a cessation of armaments were it not 
for our refusal, and thus our own people will vote against us. What is 
the use of that ? ' So Shan Tung consented. Next Shen Si was notified. 

316 Ancient China Simplified 

Shen Si also consented. Then the whole four great Powers notified the 
minor States, and a great durbar (of fourteen States) was held at a 
minor court in Ho Nan." 

The curious part of it all is that the representative of the Emperor 
(whose political position was not unlike that of the Popes in Europe 
since 1870) did not appear at the Conference at all, though all the 
Great Powers maintained the fiction of granting precedence to the 
Emperor and his nuncios, and even went through the form of accept- 
ing investiture from him and taking tribute presents to the Imperial 
Court — when it suited them. 

This celebrated Peace Conference closed the seventy-two years 
of almost incessant war that had been going on between Tsin and 
Ts'in (Shan Si and Shen Si), apart from the subsidiary war between 
Tsin and Ts'u (Hu Peh). 


Absorptions, Chinese, 189 
Accadian, 2 1 5. See Babylonian 
Adams, Will, 228 
Address, forms of, 145, 155 
Advisers, Chinese, 68, 70, 82, 91, 130, 

136, 149, 161, 177, 212, 222, 229, 

263, 288 
Advisers, Tartar, 70, 180, 222, 266, 

African parallels, 104, 137, 157, 187, 

215, 294 
Agriculture, 54, 86, 87, 182, 195 
Ainus, people, 226 
Alexander the Great, 131, 143 
Alienation of fiefs, 141 
Alliances, 149 

Alphabets, imperfection Of, 15, 187 
Altars, 282, 301 
Altars, private, 60 

Ambassadors, 43. See Envoys ; Mis- 
American parallels, 85, 145, 172, 188, 

Analects of Confucius, 102 
Ancestral feeling, 56, 64 
Ancestral sacrifices, 60, 103 
Ancestral tablets, 60, 303 
Ancestral temples, 55, 60, 223, 247, 

287, 301 
Anglo-Saxon civilization, 8 
An Hwei, province, 33, 42, 160, 273 
Annals (see History and Bamboo Books), 

182, 213, 279 
Annam, King of, 69 
Annamese race, 23, 36, 56, 105, 158, 

169, 190, 212, 232, 249, 271 
Appanages, ducal, 136 
Aquarius, 197 
Archives, 279 

Area of Ancient China, 104 
Army organization, 30, 31, 124, 170 

Army provision, 12, 118, 119, 148, 

180, 190 
Army, standing, 87 
Arrows, 34, 46, 146, 160, 235, 263, 

Arsenals, 118, 123 
Assassinations of princes, 40, 62, 75, 

92, 128, 130, 158, 167, 208, 209, 

212, 235, 243, 278, 282, 292, 302 
Assyria. See Babylonia 
Astrology, 173, 198, 254, 301, 302, 305 
Astronomy, 182, 194, 198 
Atlantic, 8 

Augury, 300. See Oracles 
Augustus, title, 135 
August Emperor, 55, 69 (see First) ; 

209 (Second) ; 213 (Both) ; 233 

Authorities consulted, 291 
Axes as emblems, 31 
Axles, 197 

Babel, Tower of, 192, 249 
Babylonian civilization, 3, 89, 134, 

186, 193, 215, 229 
"Babylonian women," S6 t 247 
Baghatur, the Khan, 152 
Bamboo Books, 16, 94, 103, 182, 215, 

Banner garrisons, 23 
Banquets, imperial, 211, 266 
Barbarian influences, 73, 131, 167, 176, 

182, 221, 238, 261, 264, 267, 282 
Barbarian kings, 135 (see King), 147, 

157, 161, 239 
Barbarians, 12, 16, 22, 34, 41, 64, 133, 

148, I5Si IS6, IS7» l6i> 255, 264 
Barbarians, Eastern, 5, 16, 33, 167 
Barbarous gods, 56 
Barbarous vassals, 55, 77, 134, 154, 

166, 248 




Barons, 29, 35, 124, 135 

Bastards, 204, 206, 298 

Battles, gigantic, 150 

Beards, 155 

Bears' paws, 212 

Bells as music, 267 

11 Bible " of China, 172 

Bismarck, 80, 157 

Black water, river, 216, 219, 251 

Blood-drawing, 99 

Blood-drinking, 218 

Blood-smearing, 56, 95, 308 

Boat travelling, 30, 34, 75, 88, 117, 

119, 126, 162 
Boiling alive, 39, no 
Book of Chou, 178 
Book of Hia, 178 
"Book, The," 107, 172, 174, 182, 222, 

267, 281, 289, 291 
Books, wooden, 173, 296 
Bows and arrows, 34, 46, 146, 160, 

"Boxer" troubles, 32 
Bridges, 118, 120 
Britain, 34, 35, 61, 225 
Bronze documents, 17 
Bruce, Major, 68, 75, 120, 216 
Brush for writing, 62 
Buddhism, 123 
Buffer states, 14, 22, 105 
Builders, Chinese as, 257 
Burials, 248. See Funerals 
Burma, 5, 125, 191 

Cadastral surveys, 85, 116 

Cadiz, 34 

Caesar, title, 135 

Calendars, 24, 26, 66, 67, 194-199 

Cambodgia, 190 

Camels, 219 

Canal, Grand, 3, 4, 75. 7$, 81, 117, 

128, 278 
Canals, early, 31, 75, 117, 148, *S3 
Canton, 125, 237 
Capitals, imperial, 10, 14, 89, 124, 

126, 146, 154, 194, 262,279, 301 
Capitals, vassal, 23, 34, 35, 38, 39, 47, 

5i> 63, 76, 98, III, 123, 128, 137, 

138, 159. 209, 214, 245, 257, 261, 

287, 302 
Capricorn, 197 

Caravans, 188 

Cardinals, 84, 136 

Carlyle, 294 

Carthage, 265. See Phoenicians 

"Cash," 273 

Caste, none in China, 137, 297 

Caste, royal, 155 

Caste, ruling, 12, 22, 35, 40, 64, 79, 

93, 161, 170, 174, 250, 290, 296 
Castration, 46, 96, 98, 108, 119, 207 
Casuistry, 99 
Cattle trade, 12, 84, 104 
Cavalry, 152 
Cave-dwellers, 148 
Celtic migration, 227 
Celtic races, 8 
Centralization, 138, 213 
Central Kingdom, 1, 5, 20, 22, 166, 

256, 289 
Ceremonial, 266. See Rites 
Cessions of imperial territory, 146 
Chan-Kwoh TsW, 132 
Ch'ang, personal name, 204 
Chang, river, 3, 38 
Ch'ang-chou Fu, 116, 118, 258 
Chang I, diplomatist, 152 
Ch'ang-sha, modern, 7, 191 
Ch'ang-shuh, city, 116 
Changes, Book of, 107, 172, 178, 182, 

290, 296, 298, 300 
Chao, state, 113, 129, 131, 147, 151, 

179, 206, 220, 262, 264 
Characters. See Writing 
Chariots, 28, 34, 46, 60, 74, 86, 106, 

145, 151, 217, 235, 274, 308 
Charities, 87, 247 
Charlemagne, 22 
Chavannes, Professor Edouard, 27, 69, 

215, 220, 223 
Chefoo, port, 162 
Cheh Kiang, province, 71 
Ch'en Ch'ang {tabu form of Ch'en or 

T'ien Heng), 130 
Ch'en family and state, 129, 136, 138, 

144, 156, 201, 240, 243, 285, 287, 

288, 301, 304, 305 
Ch'en-chou Fu, 285 
Cheng, imperial name, 206 
Cheng, state, 29, 39, 43, 52, 58, 73, 77, 

79, 87, 112, 124, 138, 143, 149, 166, 

175, 232, 264, 269, 282, 301, 309 



Ch'eng-tu, city, 125 

Chih Li, province, 6, 42, 129, 162, 284 

China, ancient nucleus of, I, 5, 20, 28, 

42, 43, 54, 8i, 104, 131, 150, 153, 

160, 186, 188, 193, 198, 227, 265, 

China, old name for, 54 (see Hia), 179, 

China, south, 21, 138, 153 
China unified, 28, 118, 119, 124, 131, 

152, 169, 179, 186, 198, 210, 249, 
^ 294, 302 
Chinese advisers, 68, 70, 82, 91, 130, 

136, 149, 161, 177, 212, 222, 229, 

263, 288 
Chinkiang, port, 74, 118, 125 
Chivalry, 50, 71, 132, 176, 309 
Choh Chou, locality, 87 
Chou, collapse of, house, 36, 152. See 

Chou, Duke of, 35, 58, 62, 136, 146, 

I55> ^7, I74> 204, 258, 301 
Chou dynasty, I, 11, 16, 21, 27, 55, 

57, 58, 66, 103, 116, 131, 133, 134, 
^ i53» 156, 167, 213, 233, 255, 277 
Chou dynasty, end of, 11, 61 
Chou principality, 16, 21, 33, 103, 116, 

159, 161, 169, 190, 220, 224, 233, 

251, 261 
Chou, Rites of, 173 (see Rites), 212, 232 
Christianity, 290 
Chronology, definite, 1, 40, 196 
Ch'ung-erh, prince, 176 
Ch'unghou, Manchu envoy, 286 
Ch'ung-k'ing, modern, 115 
Church, the, 292 
Churches, none in China, 55 
Chusan Island, 225 
Chwang, KingofTs'u, 138, 148 
Chwang-tsz, philosopher, 204 
Cities, 121, 123, 170 
Citizenship, 137 
Civilian King, 233, 300 
Civilization, advance of, 12, 132, 138, 

169, 186, 190, 224 
Clan, or gens, 35, 64, 124, 137, 201, 

239, 244 

Clan, imperial, 2, 5, 12, 14, 17, 40,43, 
in, 112, 116, 135, 140, 154, 166, 
197, 201, 222, 245, 248, 264 

Classic of poetry, 17, 107, 175 

! Classic, Law, 114 
j Classics, 107, 109 
J Classification of the people, 84 

Clay documents, 89 

Clerks, 297. See Archives and His- 

Clerks or precentors, 56, 58, 142 

Clients, 143 

Coast provinces, 31, 33, 131, 153, 169 

Cochin China, 5 

Cockfighting, 275 

Coffins, 258 

Colonization, Chinese, 4, 6, 7, 21, 105, 
!27> 153. !7o, 189, 227, 249 

Colours, 238 

Comets, 26 

Compass, the, 251 

Concubines, 205, 209, 234, 242, 250, 

293> 304 
Conference, 315. See Peace 
Confucius, 14, 24, 39, 47, 74, 75, 101, 
in, 161, 181, 197, 201, 209, 217, 
233, 239, 256, 262, 267, 305 
Confucius, his birthday, 24, 199 
Confucius, his birthplace, 4, 35, 266 
Confucius, his family, 35, 80, 106, 135 , 

I75> 233, 277 
Confucius, his History work, 13, 14, 

23, 24, 26, 35, 53, 66, 77, 106, 136, 

147, 157, 182, 194, 202, 277, 295 
Confucius, his liquor, 211 
Confucius, his literary labours, 17, 27,, 

79, 106, 154, 172, 175, 281, 289, 

297, 302 
Confucius, his tampering, 47, 76, 96, 

99, 102, 119, 130, 286, 292, 293 
Confucius, his wanderings, 37, 81, 82, 

102, 106, 174, 184, 240, 258, 289,. 

Confusion of Tongues, 193, 215 
Conqueror (see Founder), 58 
Conquest of China, 152. See China: 
Constantinople, 124 
Continuity of history, 259 
Cooks, 273 
Copper, 273 

Corea, 4, 7, 18, 121, 225, 252 
Coreans, 19, 131, 136, 186, 189 
Corpse mutilation, 57, 63, 258 
Cosmogony, 173, 181 
Cotton, 274 



Couches, 270 
Country, definition of, 125 
Counts, 29 (see Earls), 222 
Court duty, 97, 142 
Courtesans, 267, 275, 284, 293 
Courtesy titles, 161 
Courts, vassal, 132, 244 
Creation, the, 192, 215 
Critics (see Historical), 293 
Croesus, 272 
Cromwell, Oliver, 63 
Cuba, 145 
Cultivators, 84, 261 
Customs, foreign, 167, 170 
Cycles of time, 196 
Cyclic dates, 26, 198 
Cyrus, 207 

Dancing women, 106 
Danube, the, 8, 254 
Dates, definite, 1, 40, 196 
Dates, Julian and Gregorian, 24 
Dead, the, 162, 258, 309 
Democracy of Lao-tsz, 297 
Descent, rules of, 155 
Pesert, 6, 18, 72, 218, 262 
Destruction of literature, 172, 180, 182, 

298, 306 
Piagrams, 300, 302 
Dialects, 70, 78, 128, 161, 267 
Pies nefas, 303 
Diplomatic adventurers, 149, 152, 180, 

184, 241, 273, 295 
Diplomatic terms, 145 
Disciples of Confucius, 287 (see Tso 

K'iu-ming), 288, 309 
Pivine right, 113, 141, 181, 308 
Diviners, 304. See Astrology 
Documents, 58, 62, 89, 179, 229, 259, 

Documents in bronze, 17, 89, 181, 

Documents in stone, 17, 181, 222, 274 
Documents in wood, 66, 90, 184, 215, 

Documents on silk, 296 
Dogs, 209, 240 
Dog-flesh, 212, 246 
Dog Tartars, 262 
Poor-keepers, 46, 207, 208 
Press, 137, 159 

Drums, 32 

Drums, stone, 274 

Drunkenness, 51, 210, 309 

Duke Muh of Ts'in (see Muh), 70, 148, 

168, 169, 180, 182, 290 
Duke of Chou, 35, 58, 62, 136, 146, 

I55» 167, 174, 204, 251, 258, 301 
DukeofShao, 17, 136, 141, 142 
Duke of Sung, 49, 71, 135, 137, 175, 

Dukes, 29, 57, 68, 84, 135, 138, 142, 

161, 203, 279 
Dukes of Confucius, 35, 135 
Durbars, 41, 46, 49, 53, 68, 69, 76, 98, 

101, 118, 128, 143, 148, 155, I57t 

167, 222, 273, 293, 316 
Dynasties, first (Hia), 58, 66 y 140, 154, 

197, 252, 255 
Dynasties, inter-related, 137 
Dynasties, second (Shang), 11, 27, 44, 

58, 116, 140, 154, 177, 197, 252, 255 
Dynasties, third (Chou), 1, 11, 35, 58, 

134, 137, 154, 197 

Ears, amputation of, 235 

Ears, piercing of, 235 

Earls, 35, 135, 144. See Counts 

Eastern Barbarians, 5, 16, 33, 105, 143, 

167, 213 
Eastern metropolis, 301 
Eclipses, 24, 194 
Ecliptic, 195 
Eden, garden of, 192 
Education, 89, 172 
Egret fights, 274 
Egyptian civilization, 3, 134, 186, 193, 

215, 227, 249 
Elephants, 212, 258, 271 
Embassies, Japanese, 127, 163 
Emperor, 11, 23, 30, 33, 56, 61, 84, 

104, 126, 131, 133, 140, 142, 146, 

175, 190, 202, 264 
Emperor Above, or God, 55, 61, 134 
Emperor and Tartar marriages, 10, 19 
Emperor's appanage, 39, 42, 54, 69, 

89, 144, 146, 152, 169, 262, 302 
Emperor, collapse of, 36, 41, 53, 54, 

7i> 93> 9 6 > II2 » »9> 126, 141, 142, 

145, 155, 263, 279, 293, 301, 316 
Emperor, early burial places, 7, 138, 




Emperor, flights from his capital, I, 10, 
14, 28, 39, 55, 77, 89, 105, 146, 150, 
154, 198, 220, 242, 262, 307 

Emperor killed by barbarians, 184, 254 

Emperor killed by Tartars, 10, 69, 88, 
242, 262 

Emperor, suzerain, 2, 5, 52, 68, 72, 
129, 142, 146, 147, 149, 159, 161, 
179, 205, 234, 239, 258, 266, 279, 

Emperor, title of, 22, 69, 131, 147, 

Emperor's court, 34, 142, 159, 279, 

296, 297 
Emperors, dual, 126 
" Empire," names for, 62, 133 
Empire, struggle for, 23, 28, 42, 72, 

145, 149, 179 
Empresses, 125, 142, 243, 296 
Empresses-Dowager, 234 
Engineering, 115 
England, 34, 155, 201 
Envoys, 43, 142, 184, 228, 254, 280, 

Equinoxes, 195, 196 
Etiquette, 293 (see Rites), 297 
Eunuchs, 46, 62, 85, 119, 201, 207, 

Europe and China, ancient, 188 
European critics, 214, 259, 299 
Euphrates, river, 3 
Evidence, historical, 192, 229 
Exchange currency, 47 
Exogamy, 205 
Expanded Confucian histories, 24, 27, 

173, 183 
Explorations, Early Chinese, 7, 9, 69, 

198, 213-223, 268 
Expresses, 88, 97 
Exterminating punishments, 1 10 

Facing north, south, east, and west, 

Fah Hien, pilgrim, 272 
Fah, personal name, 204 
Fairs, 87 

Families, branching off of, 248 
Families, great, 29, 80, 87, 98, 102, 106, 

129, 232, 234, 247, 272, 278, 280, 

286, 303 
Fan Stian-tsz, statesman, 314 

Fasting, 64, 108 

Father of Chinese History, 96, 103 (see 

Sz-ma Ts'ien), 183 
Feasts, 108 
Federal princes, 28, 47, 52, 56, 70, 71, 

72, 134, 140, 144 
Fen River, 6, 15, 122, 153, 154 
Feng-siang Fu, 302 
Feudal system, 36, 55, 138, 180, 185, 

231, 294 
Feudal system, destruction of, 55, 70, 

179, 213 
Fiefs, 1, 2, 14, 15, 90, 119, 125, 135, 

140, 185, 205, 254, 288 
Fighting State Period, 132, 181, 185 
First August Emperor, 26, 28, 61, 93, 

118, 124, 162, 169, 172, 180, 191, 

198, 204, 206, 208, 213, 251, 269, 

294, 298 
Fish industry, 12, 38, 86, 163, 167, 

Five Tyrants, Dictators, or Protectors, 

12, 38, 68, 71. See Protectors 
Flags, use of, 31 
Flooding cities, 125 
Foochow, 170 
Food, 190 
Foot, length of, 62 
Football, 275 
Foot-squeezing, 242, 275 
Fords, 118, 140 

Foreign blood in China, 54, 154 
Foreign critics, 214, 259, 299 
Foreign languages, 145, 160, 170, 228, 

Foreign princes, 134 (see Barbarian), 


Foreign states (politically), 145, 167 

Forke, Professor, 215 

Formosa, 5, 228 

Founder of Chou dynasty, 2, 3, 22, 23, 
35. 57, 58, 63, 116, 118, 133, 136, 
144, 167, 177, 231, 288. See Mar- 
tial King 

Four seasons, 195, 199 

Fowling, 274 

French, the, 69, 145 

Frontiers, 243, 253, 273 

Frontiers, changing, 53 

Fu-ch'ai, King of Wu, 224, 225, 227 

Fuh Kien, province, 71 




Funerals, 162, 202, 205, 238, 248 
Fu-yung vassals, 144, 221 

Games, 275 
Genesis, 185, 192 
Geography, ancient, 89, 249 
Germans, 36, 128 (see Prussia), 150, 

157, 167, 211, 227, 272 
Germany, Emperors of, 135 
Ghosts, 58. See Spirits * 

God, notions of, 55, 59, 141, 309 
Gods, 118, 141. See Spirits 
Gods of rivers, 305, 308 
Gods of the harvest, 57, 58, 234 
Gods of the land, 56, 58, 234, 304, 308 
Gold, 145, 272 
Golden Horn, 124 
Gordon, General, 123 
Gorges of Yang-tsz River, 115, 147, 

Gospels, the, 299 

Government, theory of, 108, no, 204 
Grain trade, 12, 84, 88, 1 29 
Grand Canal, 3, 4, 75, 76, 81, 117, 

128, 278 
Grants, 258. See Fiefs 
Grapes, 210 

Great families. See Families 
Great River, 33 (see Yang-tsz), 180 
Great Wall, 6, 18, 129, 150, 179, 220, 

Greece, 18, 131, 143, 249 
Greek civilization, 7, 10, 34, 131, 134, 

193, 198, 227, 306 
Guelph, the name, 201 
Gulf of "Pechelee," 38, 162 
Gutchen, locality, 217 

Hague Conference, 315 

Hainan Island, 5 

Hair, dressing the, 137, 155, 159, 170 

Hami, locality, 217 

Han dynasty, 198, 209, 233, 294 

Han Emperor, 152, 198, 210 

Han K'i, statesman, 313 

Han, Pass of, 59, 208 

Han River, 4, 15, 21, 22, 23, 71, 143, 

153. I5 6 > 159, 203, 214, 216, 219, 

231, 252, 305 
Han, State of, 113, 129, 131, 145, 147, 

I5i» 179 

Han SUan-tsz, 313 

Handicraft, 84 

Handmaids, 245 

Hangchow, modern, 7, 33, 118, 191, 

251. 254 

Hankow, modern, 4, 7, 88, 125, 184, 

Harashar, locality, 216, 262 
Harems, 209. See Eunuchs 
Hats, rank in, 81, 309 
Hawaii, 145 
Head-covering, 309 
Heaven, 55, 113, 181, 308 
Heaven, Son of, 55, 68, 133. See 

Heaven, will of, 56, 113, 301, 304 
Hegemons, Five. See Protectors 
Hegemony, official, 52, 72, 81, 97, 147 
Heirs, 57, 155 
Helmets, 309 
Hemp, 104, 232 
Hereditary offices, 46, 79, 198 
Herodotus, 272 
" Hia," meaning "Chinese," 54, 166, 

171, 179, 198, 253 
Ilia dynasty, 58, 66, 89, 1 16, 154, 167, 

170, 178, 191, 197, 198, 249, 255, 

261, 277, 280, 285 
Hiang Suh, statesman, 81, 90, 106 
Hien city, 2, 78, 121 
Hien, definition of, 124 
Hien-feng, Emperor, 119 
Hien-yang, locality, 119, 124 
Hindoo trading colonies, 5 
Hindu Kush, 216 
Historical critics, 145, 193, 215, 256, 

259, 293 
Historical manipulations, 70, 76, 96, 

164, 220, 223, 293, 302 
Historiographers, 168, 182, 185, 279, 

292, 297 
History, discrepancies in, 67, 103, 15S, 

History, earliest dated, 1 
History, early Chinese, 13, 72, 87, 96, 

147, 148, 178, 182, 188, 196 
History, mediaeval Chinese, 129, 179 
"History," names for, 154, 183, 1S4 
History, Japanese, 69, 163, 164 
History of Shuh, 69 
History of Sz Ch'wan, 20, 147 



History of Tsin, 64, 103, 214 
History, romance of, 51, 225 
Hiung-nu, 150, 168, 201, 244 
Homage, 97, 211, 214, 222 
Ho-nan Fu, 10, 14, 118, 126, 146, 194, 

Ho Nan Province, 1, 4, 10, 21, 29, 

42, 43, 81, 125, 129, 131, 134, 143, 

190, 252, 257, 285, 298 
Hong Kong, 237 
"Horizontal and Perpendicular" 

Period, 149, 179 
Horses, 9, 84, 86, 151, 213, 271, 274, 

Horse-flesh, 211, 218 
Hostages, 206 
House of Commons, 202 
House of Lords, 294 
Houses, 30, 125 
Hii, state, 124 
Human origins, 187, 226 
Human sacrifices, 168, 170, 209, 257 
Hu Kwang, province, 71. See Hu Peh 
Hu Nan, province, 138, 191, 250, 251, 


IIu P£h, province, 21 {see Hu Kwang), 
156, 274 

Hundred Yiieh, 170, 179 

Hungarian migration, 227 

Huns, 150. See Hiung-nu 

Hunts, 32, 119, 218, 274 

Hwa, city, 184 

Hwai-k'ing Fu, 118 

Hwai-nan-tsz, author, 209 

Hwai River, 4, 5, 15, 23, 36, 71, 76, 
81, 87, 117, 128, 135, 153, 166, 251 

Hwai savages, 167. See Eastern Bar- 

Hwai valley, 128, 143, 150, 159, 171, 
254, 285 

Hwan, Duke of Lu, 210 

4 1," the words for, 144 
I, River, 117 

Ich'ang, modern, 22, 115, 154 
I-chou Fu, 117 
Imagination and fact, 158 
Immortality defined, 1 1 1 
Imperial clan, 2, 5, 12, 17, 74, 79, 135, 

138, 166, 197, 201, 264, 298, 307 
Imperial residences, 6, 10, 14, 146, 154 

Imperial domain, 15, 54, 135. See 

Dukes and Emperor 
Imperator, the title, 134 
Imprecation, 97 
Incest, 205, 210, 243, 248,284 
India, 5, 20, 145, 178, 190, 191, 193, 

198, 272 
Indo-China, 5, 190 
Infanticide, 247 
Ink, 215 

Inscriptions, 162, 179, 222, 258, 269 
Intercalary months, 66, 196, 198 
International Law, 241 
Investiture, 142 
Iron trade, 12 
Irrigation, 115, 117 
Islands, South Sea, 5 
Italy, 249. See Roman civilization 
Ito, Prince or Duke, 135 
Ivory, 212, 270 

Jade, 274, 304 

Japan, 4, 18, 127, 163, 170, 224, 225, 

Japanese, 19, 62, 69, 127, 133, 135, 

162, 189, 250 
Japanese civilization, 35, 160, 178, 232 
Japanese history, 69, 164, 224, 229 
Japanese language, 126, 229 
Japanese types, 226, 228 
Jehol, locality, 119 
Jesuits, 116, 195 
Jews, 125, 137 
Jimmu, Mikado, 224, 229 
"Joints," twenty-four, of time, 196 
Journey, in days, 218 
Judge-made law, 112 
Julia, Lex, 246 
Jungle {see Ts'u state), 21, 34, 75, 156, 

159, 170, 203, 212, 233, 251 
Jung-tseh, city, 3 
Jurisprudence, 109 

K'AI, city, 184 

Kakhyens, 125 

Kan-chou Fu, 216 

K'ang-hi, Emperor, 58 

Kashgaria, 5 

Keugu, country, 34 (see Wu), 128, 160, 

Khan, Supreme Tartar, 152 



Khoten, 216 

Ki clan, 17, 40, 140, 141, 201, 205, 

222, 244 
K'i principality, 39, 277, 280, 289 
Ki-chah, prince of Wu, 73, 81, 98, 101, 

106, 160, 161, 172, 174, 224, 239, 

258, 267, 279, 284 
Kia-ting Fu, 116 
Kiang Si, province, 71, 191 
Kiang Su, province, 6, 42, 71, 167, 

255, 262 
Kiang-yin, locality, 258 
Kiao Chou, 36, 76, 128, 162, 272 
K'ien, River, 123 
King (see Ts'u state), 23, 203 
King, title of, 22, 49, 55, 68, 131, 133, 

135, 136, 137, 147 
King-chou Fu, 23, 159, 209, 214, 257 
King, River, 261 
Kings, Tartar, 70, 125, 180 
Kitchen middens, 226 
Kou-tsien, King, 169, 170, 178 
Kruger, President, 172 
Kublai Khan, 118 
Kuche, locality, 216, 262 
Ku-ch'eng, locality, 217 
Kumiss, 217 
Kung-tsz, or son of reigning prince, 

161, 203 

K'u-peh-yuh, Confucius' friend, 63, 82, 

162, 174, 284 
K'iih-fu, city, 35, 102, 117 
K'uh Yuan, poet, 184 
Kvva Chou, locality, 68, 216 
Kwan-tsz, philosopher, 40, 44, 49, 51, 

71, 79, 86, 99, 148, 175, 183, 247, 

263, 295 
Kwan-tsz, his death, xiii, 51 
Kwei Chou, province, 71, 237, 255 
Kwei-teh Fu, 135, 285 
Kwoh Hia, general, 91 
Kwoh Yu, history, 91, 103, 123 

Lai barbarians, 167, 283 

Lai-chou Fu, 167 

Lakes of Hu Nan and Kiang Si, 191, 

250, 251 
Lakes of Kiang Su, 4, 118 
Lan-chou Fu, 120, 216, 218 
Land, belongs to Emperor, 141 
Land-owners, 42, 83, 86, 129 

Language questions, 127, 154, 161, 
170, 250, 267 

Lang-ya, locality, 128 

Laos tribes, 190 

Lao-tsz, philosopher, 58, 82, 94, 102, 
168, 177, 180, 181, 183, 207, 209, 
219, 267, 268, 275, 278, 287, 295, 
296, 3°2, 30°" 

Lao-tsz's book, 298 

Law, 23, 45, 80, 104, 108-114, 130, 
242, 281,283, 304, 311 

Law, natural, 104 

Leather chariots, 28 

Leather trade, 84, 270 

Left and Right, 236 

Legal fictions, 293 

Legge, Dr., 109, 218 

Legists, 181 

Lex Julia , 246 

Li, Emperor, 198 

Li Hung-chang, 116, 123, 201 

Li K'wei, lawyer, 114, 130 

Li Ping, engineer, 115 

Li Tan, 168. See Lao-tsz 

Liang, state, 114, 125 

Liao River, 131 

Liao Tung, 4, 18, 252 

Lieh-tsz, Taoist author, 219 

Lin-tsz, city, 38, 257 

Literary activity, 172, 177, 181, 295 

Literary pedants, 50 

Literature, destruction of, 172, 180, 

Literature, early, 17, 54, 82, 132, 172, 
178, 220, 295 

Liu Hia, person, 202 

Liu K'un-yih, viceroy, 202 

Livadia, Treaty of, 286 

Loadstone, 252 

Lob Nor, 68, 216 

Local customs, 238 

Loess territory, 3, 30, 89, 104, 125 

Loh River, 153 

Loh-yang (see Ho-nan Fu and Capi- 
tals), 146 

Lolo, tribes, 116, 158 

Long Tartars, 262 

Loss of rule, 57 

Lu, extinction of, 63 

Lu, state, 22, 24, 34, 39, 40, 47, 57, 62, 
66, 73, 91, 101, 106, 1 10, 116, 128 



129, 136, 144, 145, 150, 153, 155, 
156, 159, 161, 167, 168, 180, 183, 
184, 194, 197, 204, 210, 232, 238, 
247, 253, 258, 269, 272, 275, 278, 
288, 296 

Lu stripped of territory, 53, 76, 283, 

Luh-fu, personal name, 201 

Lunations, 195 

Luni-solar years, 195 

Macedon, 131, 143, 249 

Maire du Palais^ 130, 287, 302 

Males, Seven, 147 

Manchu dynasty, 23, 58, 63, 212, 265 

Manchuria, 5, 18, 252, 263, 286 

Manchus, 39, 131 

Manes, 56, 64 

Maps, 92, 250 

Marco Polo, 117, 118, 188, 215 

Markets, 87 

Marquesses, 35, 57, 84, 135, 136, 138, 

Marriages, exogamic, 205 
Marriages, imperial, 10, 142 
Marriages, Tartar, 125 
Marriages, vassal, 39, 46, 142, 157, 

160, 174, 176, 234, 242, 282, 306 
Marseilles, 34, 249 
Martial King, the, 58, 133, 177, 242, 

{see Founder and Warrior), 308 
Mats, 270 

Meat eating, 211, 273 
Meat, gifts of sacrificial, 63, 202 
Medicine, 182 
Memorizing books, 178 
Mencius, philosopher, 75, 114,136, 144, 

152, 160, 205, 233, 241, 275 
Meng, Ford, 118, 140 
Merchants, 109 
Mercury, 257 
Meridians, 194 
Mesne-lords, 2, 5, 57, 97, 138, 143, 144, 

160, 239, 264, 289 
Metals, 104, 145, 292 
Meteors, 269 

Metropolis, 279 {see Capitals), 298, 301 
Miao-tsz tribes, 158, 255 
Migrating birds, 263, 286 
Migration, 3, 4, 15, 69, 189, 226 
Mikado, 62, 234. See Jimmu 

Mining, 38 

Ministers of State, 60, 78, 101, 155, 

Missions, 184 {see Envoys ; Embassies), 

266, 280, 296 
Modern ideas, 134 
Modernism, 290 
Mon, people, 190 
Monaco, 145 
Money, 47, 273 
Mongolia, 218, 265 
Mongols, 19, 39, 58, 118, 189, 263, 

265, 274 
Monosyllabic language, 34, 189, 256 
Months and moons, 66, 194, 195 
Moon, proclaiming the, 194 
Moon, sacrifice at full, 305 
Morals, 242, 247 

Mothers, quality of, 240. See Wives 
Mourning and War, 49, 237, 263 
Mourning customs, 64, 144, 167, 223, 

232, 238, 309 
Muh (T'ien-tsz or) Emperor, 7, 68, 

109, 185, 205, 206, 213-223, 226, 

229, 262, 268 
Muh, Duke of Ts'in, 51, 67,71, 123, 

148, 168, 169, 180, 182, 205, 206, 

210, 216, 290 
Mulberry trees, 273, 274 
Municipia, 144 
Music, 30, 62, 74, 106, 107, 154, 155, 

169, 174, 175, 223, 266, 283, 289 
Mustard, 275 
Mutilation, 108, 119, 207 
Mutilation of corpses, 57, 63, 231, 258 

Names, ancient and modern place, 78, 

Names, Chinese proper, 10, 15, 53, 200 
Names, clan, 25, 64, 124 
Names, personal, 120, 201, 244 
Names, posthumous, 68, 133, 138, 156, 

161, 204 
Names, Tartar, 201 
" Naming " process, 157, 202 
Nanking, modern, 4, 34, 126, 251, 258 
Nan-yang Fu, 287 
Napoleon, 149, 225 
National colours, 238. See Flags 
Natural law, 104, 108, 112 
Nature, 192 

Y 2 



Naval fights, 74 

Navigable rivers, 30, 119, 153 

Navigation by sea, 35, 126, 162, 163, 

225, 272 
Needles, 87 
Nepaul, 145, 265 
Ngwei, state, 113, 119, 125, 129, 130, 

131, 147, 151, 169, 179, 214, 241, 

Nien-po, locality, 216 
Nine Tripods, 89, 146, 156, 250, 301 
Ningpo, modern, 7, 36, 75, 76, 162, 

170, 191, 227 
Nomad horsemen, 6, 9, 21, 49, 188 
Norman feudal system, 2 
Nose-cutting, 207 
Nosu. See Lolo 
Nucleus of old China (see China), 131, 

227, 265, 289 

Oaths, 98 

Odes, 17, 107, 168, 172, 182, 210, 222, 

243, 267, 289 
Odes, Book of, 17, 27, 107, 154, 175, 

177, 218, 275 
Okuma, Count, 178 
Omens, 305 
Opium, 275 
Oppolzer's dates, 25 
Oracles, consulting, 56, 300 
Oranges, 254 
Orthodox Chinese, 1, 5, 16, 22, 28, 30, 

34, 39, 49, 52, 53, 64, 70, 77, 124, 

131, 144, 159,168, 172, 179, 218, 

263, 288 
Orthodox courts, 51, 74 
Ouigours, 216 
Oviet, 128. .SV^Yueh 

Pa, state, 115 

Pagodas, 123 

Palaces, 123, 124 

Pao-ch'eng, locality, 219 

Paper, invention of, 296 

Paranymphs, 245 

Pass, frontier, 59, 298 

Paterfamilias, 109 

Patriarchal rule, 11, 93, 186, 213 

Peace Conference, 45, 47, 81, 88, 90, 

95, 123, 145, 239, 293, 315 
" Pechelee " Gulf, 38, 162, 253 

Pedantry, 50, 72, 176, 180, 264 
Pedigree, 143, 154, 156, 159, 190,227, 

255, 262 
Peh K'i, General, 151 
Peking, modern, 61, $7 t 121, 125, 194, 

212, 274 
Peking plain, 5,41, 136, 150, 236, 263, 

Pelasgi, 143 
People, the, 83, 109, 148, 172, 275, 

Period, Protector, 12 
"Perpendicular and Horizontal" 

Period, 149, 179, 273 
Persia, 18, 20, 131, 215 
Persian civilization, 5, 89, 193, 198, 

Personal causes of war, 32, 148, 306 
Personal names, 120, 201 
Philosophy, 172, 175, 181, 256, 279, 

Phoenicians, 34, 227, 249 
Physicians, 162 
Pigs, 99, 246, 283 
"Piled Stones," locality, 216 
Pilgrimages, 141 
Pillars of Hercules, 249 
P'ing-yang Fu, 6 
Pisces, 197 

Pivot points, historical, 10, 129 
Ploughed fields, 29 
Ploughman Emperor, 58, 138 
Poetry, 184. See Odes 
Poetry, classic, 1 7. See Odes 
Police, 85, 108 
Politeness, 145 
Political intrigue, 34, 42 
Pope, comparison with the, 105, 290, 

Population, 12, 31, 42, 104, 124, 148, 

247, 288 
Population, non-Chinese, 22, 104, 148, 

164, 167, 189 
Posterity, importance of, 57 
Posthumous names, 68, 133, 138, 156, 

161, 204, 229 
Posthumous titles, 22, 1S2 
Powers, great, 147 
Prayer, 56, 58, 90 
Precedence, 76, 95, Il6, 166 
Premiers, 155. See Ministers 



Presage, 305. See Astrology 
Presents from Emperor, 63, 145 
Priestly caste, no, 55, 201 
Princesses, 142, 174, 242, 244 
Principalities, 14 (see Fiefs), 23, 68, 125, 

143, 264 
Prisons, 211 

Prisoners of war, 53, 146 
Proclaiming the law, 113, 242 
Proclaiming the moon, 194 
Proclamation, no 
Progress in China, 54, 148, 153 
Promontory, Shan Tung, 16, 162 
Prophecy, 301 (see Astrology and 

Oracles), 305 
Propriety, 102, 106, 109 
Prostitution, 247 
Protector, First, 38, 40, 49, 62>, 71, 87, 

141, 148, 166, 183, 209, 214, 238, 

252, 254, 257, 263 
Protector, Second, 52, 58, 66, 70, 71, 

87, in, 118, 146, 156, 166, 175, 183, 

208, 210, 238, 244, 263, 273, 307, 


Protector, Third, 46, 71, 166, 264 
Protectors, Joint, 97, 101, 145 
Protectors of China, 12, 33, 38, 46, 49, 

53> 64, 68, 70, 71, 76, 81, 96, 106, 

117, 128, 141, 146, 149, 168, 179, 

222, 263, 282 
Proverbs, 99, 242 
Prussia, 149 
P'u-chou Fu, 118 
P'uh, barbarians, 255 
Punishment, 108 
Punishments, barbarous, 39, 63, 108, 

no, 1 18, 207 
Purification, 64 
Pyrrhus, 131 

Quelpaert, Island, 227 
Quicksilver, 257 

Race feeling, 137 

Racing, 106 

Railway, "British," 34, 116, 118, 251 

Ranks of nobility, 135 

Ranks, official, 202, 236 

Records, 178 (see History), 185, 187, 

199, 222, 227 
Redwater, River, 216, 219 

Regency, 251. See Duke of Chou 

Reign periods, 199 

Religion, none in ancient China, 55, 

162, 290 
Religion of Confucius (so-called), 37, 

174, 290, 294 
Religious compromise, 192 
Remains, ancient, 191, 257 
Renan, Ernest, 122, 252, 299 
Residences at the metropolis, 140, 141 
Revolutionary literature, 181, 297 
Rice, 217 

Right and Left, 236 
Rites, 161. See Ritual 
Rites, Book of, 82, 107, 172, 178, 212 
Rites of Chou, 231, 243, 246, 289 
Ritual, 2, 11, 12, 34, 36, 42, 74, 82, 88, 

103, 137, 176, 180, 205, 233, 243, 
244, 259, 265, 279, 290, 294 

Ritual chivalry, 50, 156, 176, 309 

Ritual, Shinto, 62 

Rivers and migration, 4, 250 

Rivers and navigation, 30, 119 

Road, begging, 138, 143, 307 

Roads, 29, 87, 180, 216, 255 

Roman civilization, 8, 10, 113, 131, 

136, 144, 150, 176, 204, 252, 264, 

Royal caste, 155 
Rulers, divine right of, 55, 292 
Rulers, tyranny of, 245, 308 
Russia, 8, 166, 286 

Sacrifices, 12, 47, 56, 63, 95, 98, 

104, 141, 156, 169, 234, 258 
Sacrifices, drum, 32 

Sacrifices, family, 2, 44, 56, 60, 62, 

135, 138, i47» i5°> 232, 238, 285 
Sacrifices, human, 168, 170, 209 
Sacrifices, spring and autumn, 61 
Sacrificial meat, 63, 64, 202 
Saga literature, 17 
Sagittarius, 198 
Salary in grain, 284 
Salt flats, 4, 5, 38, 86 
Salt trade, 12, 38, 86, 167 
Sanctions, solemn, 47, 97, 98, 113, 174 
Savages, 161. See Barbarians 
Scandinavia, 150 
Sceptres, 142, 258, 274 
Science and religion, 193 



Scottish parallels, 200, 202, 203 
Scripture, 173, 180, 192, 305 
Scythians, 168. See Turks and Hiung- 

Sea, little known, 254, 271 
Seal character, 93 
Seals, 233 
Seasons, 194, 198 
Semi-mythical times, 6, 14, 15, 16, 21, 

57, 103, 126, 136, 154, 163, 170, 244, 

255» 290 
Septimius Severus, 204 
Settled communities, 22 
Seven States, 131 
Sha-shi, modern, 23, 88, 257 
Shakespeare, 299 
Shan-hai Kiwan, 162 
Shan races, 105, 158, 190, 252, 255 
Shan. Si, province, 6, 14, 21, 122, 129, 

153, 206, 236, 252, 262, 287 
Shan Tung, province, 5, 16, 21, 22, 33, 

36, 38, 42, 117, 141, 153, 162, 171, 

191, 222, 236, 255, 285, 298 
Shang dynasty, 11, 27, 44, 49, 57, 63, 

7h 74, 135, 137, 140, 175, 177, 201, 
221, 231, 233, 238, 242, 255, 262, 
277, 301 

Shang, principality, 202 

Shang Ti y title, 134 

Shanghai, modern, 7, 33, 34, 75, 153, 

Shao, Duke of (in Yen), 17, 36, 141, 

142, 197 
Shao-hing, modern, 36, 76, 170, 191 
Sheba, Queen of, 215 
Shfo-wu, Mikado (see Jimmu), 224 
Shen Si, province, 10, 21, 30, 52, 119, 

153, 190, 216, 255,302 
Sh't-kty history, 183 
Shinto ritual, 62 
Shipbuilding, 118, 123 
Shipping, early, 163 
Shou-meng, King of Wu, 224 
Shrines, 60 
Shuh Hiang, statesman, 47, 80, 95, 

106, 112, 129, 155, 162, 173, 279, 

298, 304, 305, 309, 3", 3 14 
Shuh, state, 69, 115, 130, 147, 150, 

180, 190, 219 
Shun, Emperor, 58, 138, 191, 222, 

251, 255, 257 

Siam, 5, 105, 158, 190, 232, 255 

Siang, Emperor, 198 

Siang-yang city, 257 

Siberia, 5, 20, 218 

Sin, idea of, 55 

Si-ngan Fu, 10, 119, 261 

Sinim, land of, 188 

Si-ning, locality, 216 

Silk, 46, 84, 217, 270, 273 

Silk industry, 12, 275 

Silk, writing on, 62, 296 

Sisters as joint wives, 50, 205, 244, 255 

Siwangmu, country and ruler, 69, 215, 

Six Kingdoms, 131, 147, 172, 179, 181, 

236, 262, 295 

Six states (south), 143 

Slavery, 85, 270 

Smearing blood, 56 

Smearing lips with blood, 47, 56, 95 

Solstices, 196, 198 

Son of Heaven, 55, 62, 68, 108, 119, 

133, 233 
Songs, 154 (see Odes), 155, 172, 176, 

268, 303 
Soochow city, 34, 76, 118, 123, 258, 

Soochow Creek, 33, 254 
Soothsayers, 268 
Soul, the, 162 
Soul (Corea), 121 
South, facing, 236 
South China, 21, 138, 153, 179, 189, 

237, 250 

South Sea, 191, 251, 255 
South Sea Islands, 5 
Southern Yiieh, 36, 131, 170 
Sovereign quality, 35, 55, 108, III, 

221, 236, 308 
Spanish parallels, 141, 144, 270 
Spinning, 275 
Spirits, 210 (see Wine), 212 
Spirits and ghosts, 55, 57, 59, 141, 162 
Spiritual power, 175, 190, 289, 298 
Sport, 32, 85, 123, 270, 274 
Spring and Autumn Annals, 24, 103, 

147, 182, 184, 198, 213, 291, 294, 

Spring functions, 61, 140 
Standards, 31. See Flags 
States, size of, 77, 125 



Statesmen, intimacy of, 78, 172, 178, 

181, 295, 298, 313-315 
Statistics, absence of, 148 
Stone documents, 17 
Stone drums, 274 
Struggle for empire, 23, 28, 42, 72, 

I45» 149. 213, 272 
Succession questions, 40, 49, 50, 58, 62, 

no, in, 142, 155, 161, 169, 233, 

240, 245, 247, 288, 304 
Sii Chou, 167 

Suicide, 51, 58, 164, 184, 208, 209 
Sultans of Turkey, 44 
Sun, facing the, 236 
Sun, movements of, 196, 237 
Sung as Protector, 53, 71, 72, 175 
Sung, state, 43, 47, 49, 51, 57, 71, 74, 

76, 106, 128, 129, 135, 143, 150, 161, 

166, 238, 264, 277, 284, 286 
Sung's diplomatic position, 51, 76, 

Supernatural agencies, 192 
Superstition, 181, 192 
Surnames, 57, 59, 64, 114, 200 
Surveys, 85, 116 
Su Ts'in, diplomatist, 152 
Swords, 274 
Sz, the River, 6, 35, 75, 76, 81, 117, 

128, 150, 154, 166, 278 
Sz Ch'wan history, 20, 147 
Sz Ch'wan, province, 5, 20, 69, 71, 115, 

125, 130, 147, 150, 153, 180, 190 
Sz-ma Kwang, 129, 179 
Sz-ma Ts'ien, 98, 103, 151, 183, 213, 


Tablets, ancestral, 60, 61, 62 

Tablets, documentary, 184. ^Docu- 

Tabu, 200, 203 

T'ai Hu, lake, 118 

T'ai-p'ing rebels, 125 

T'ai-shan, mountain, 141 

Ta-liang, capital, 125 

Tan, historiographer, 168 

Tan-yang, locality, 118 

T'ang dynasty, 243 

7'ao, or the way, 84, 104, 109, 134, 156, 
181, 279, 290 

Taoists, 137, 152, 180, 183, 209, 210, 
219, 267, 269, 297 

Tarim valley, 5, 72, 191,215,216,226, 

249, 262 
Tartar advisers, 70, 180, 182, 266, 270 
11 Tartar," ambiguity of word, 19 
Tartar cart-houses, 30 
Tartar Emperors, 96 
Tartar Empire, 18, 70, 152 
Tartar-Generals, 23, 39 
Tartar kings, 70, 125, 180, 266 
Tartar pedigrees, 136 
Tartar treaties, 49, 69 
Tartar wives, 50, 137, 142, 175, 176, 

177, 243, 264 
Tartars, 6, 9, 10, 14, 18, 21, 30, 36, 40, 

86, 105, 125, 131, 136, 141, 151, 182, 

185, 189, 191, 214, 261 
Tartars annexed, 50, 68, 70, 185, 214, 

Tartars kill Emperor, 10, 69, 242, 262 
Tartars, Northern, 96 
Tartars, Western, 39, 185, 263 
Tartary, 5, 18, 49, 119, 150, 180, 191, 

Tattooing, 159, 163, 170 
Taxation, 83, 86, 129 
Tea, 271, 275 
Teh-an, locality, 274 
Temple of Heaven, 61 
Temples in China, 55, 60, 258. See 

T'eng, state, 166 
Tenshi, or T'ien-tsz, 62, 133 
Territorial names, 20 1 
Teutonic migrations, 227 
Theatricals, 45, 47, 269, 283 
Thicket country, 21. See King 
Tho, people, 190 
Three Miao, 255 
Three Tsin, 147, 149 
Ti, the word, or Emperor, 133, 147, 150 
Tibet, 5, 20, 116, 150, 191, 265 
Tibetans, 19, 21, 158, 186, 190, 216 
T'ien (disguised form of Ch'en) family, 

129, J 36, 3 01 
T'ien Heng, 130 
Tientsin, modern, 3, 16, 17, 39 
Tillage, 5, 54, 86, 87 (see Agriculture), 

Tin Islands, 8 
Titles of vassal rulers, 29,35, 135, 156, 




Tobacco, 275 

Tombs, 85, 138, 169, 258 

Tombs, ancient, 74, 138, 209, 222, 240, 

251, 257 
Tombs, desecration of, 63, 214, 257, 258 
Tombs of Emperors, 7, 119, 191 
Tones, Chinese, 15 
Tonic languages, 22, 189, 193, 256 
Tonquin, 5, 169, 190 
Tonquin, early relations with, 7 
Tortoises, 300, 304 
T'ouman, personal name, 201 
Tower of Babel, 192 
Trade, 12, 54, 84, 86, 88, 167, 188, 250 
Traditions, 249, 251, 300 
Treaties, 95-100, 293 
Treaties, Chinese vassal, 29, 41, 44, 47, 

48, 91 
Treaties, faithlessness to, 52, 91 
Treaties, Tartar, 49, 69 
Tribute, 104, 140, 145, 184 
Tribute of Yii, 167, 250 
Triennial homage, 211 
Tripods, Nine, 89, 146, 156, 250, 301 
Trophies, war, 61 
Tropics, 237 

Ts'ai, state, 138, 144, 166, 267, 287, 306 
Tsaidam, 5 

Tsang Wen-chung, statesman, ill 
Ts'ao, state, 138, 144, 166, 263, 285, 

Ts'ao-chou Fu, 285 
Tschepe, Father, S.J., 128, 266 
Ts'i a Tartar power, 72 
Ts'i and Tsin cooperation, 97 
Ts'i and Ts'u wars, 53, 153, 167 
Tsi-nan Fu, 117 
Ts'i revolution, 129, 137, 147, 150, 235, 

Tsi, River, 1 1 7 
Ts'i, state, 16, 17, 21, 28, 38, 39, 44, 

48, 49, 88, 91, 101, 116, 124, 129, 

136, 141, 145, 153, 160, 162, 166, 

167, 180, 183, 232, 274, 280, 289, 

292, 301 
Ts'i's gay capital, 51, 63, 87, 137 
Ts'i's hegemony, 50 
Ts'i's hospitality, 51, 175 
Ts'i's luxury, 86, 175 
Tsin and Ts'i wars, 53, 137, 254, 273, 


Tsin and Ts'in wars, 53, 59, 68, 70, 73, 

232, 238, 257 
Tsin and Ts'u wars, 43, 47, 50, 52, 53, 

57. 61, 70, 73, 146, 177, 255, 287, 

Tsin, extension of, 50, 146 
Tsin, half Tartar, 50, 67, 70, 137, 142, 

166, 175, 179, 180, 244, 263 
Tsin, history of, 64, 103, 182, 214 
Tsin, New, 146 
Tsin, Old, 146 
Tsin, state, 15, 17, 21, 28, 34, 41, 58, 

66, 129, 143, 146, 159, 166, 208, 262 
Tsin, Three, 147, 169, 206, 214, 295 
Tsin's division, 87, 113, 121, 129, 147, 

150, 169, 205, 214, 295, 302 
Ts'in and Tsin wars, 53, 59, 68, 70, 

73, 130 
Ts'in and Ts'u cooperation, 53, 73, 97 
Ts'in empire, 28, 55, 61, 92, 118, 119, 

131, 152, 198, 259, 272, 302 
Ts'in history, 182, 185, 213 
Ts'in not literary, 82, 168, 178, 241, 

Ts'in Protector, 149, 168, 222 
Ts'in, state, 11, 15, 17, 21, 28, 39, 42, 

43> 5 6 , 97, 123, 130, 144, 147, 168, 

190, 206, 213, 262, 280, 302 
Ts'in's isolation, no, 123, 130, 149, 

168, 176, 259, 267, 307 
Ts'in's kindness to Tsin, 52, 67, 90, 176 
Ts'in's Tartar blood, 56, 70, no, 166, 

176, 182, 212, 220, 244, 263 
Ts'ing-chou Fu, 39 
Ts'ing-tao, 272. See Kiao Chou 
Tso Chwan, history, 66, 103, 173, 291, 

3ii, 315 
Tso K'iu-ming, historian, 66, 103, 173, 

291, 299, 3^5 
Ts'u a literary state, 82, 156, 1 77, 183, 

288, 304 
Ts'u and Ts'i wars, 53 
Ts'u and Tsin wars, 43, 47, 52, 53, 57, 

61, 70, 73, 146 
Ts'u and Ts'in struggle for empire, 145, 

Ts'u and Wu wars, 35, 63 
Ts'u as a suzerain, 34, 71, 138, 143, 

I5°> *59, 180, 224, 252, 304 
Ts'u as Protector, 49, 53, 72, 97, 157, 



33 « 

Ts'u extinguishes Lu, 63 
Ts'u, foreign blood, 154 
Ts'u, progress of, 30, 46, 64, 76, 81, 

131, 143, 148, 154, 156, 169, 183, 

184, 231, 268, 288 
Ts'u, state (see Jungle), 21, 23, 28, 41, 

47, 61, 71, 75, in, 112, 131, 138, 

190, 203, 214, 219, 239, 245, 254, 

257, 263, 287, 305, 308 
Tsushima, 227 
Tsz-ch'an, 45, 47, 79, 106, in, 112, 

149, 162, 172, 200, 203, 272, 279, 

281, 285, 290, 294, 298, 304, 305, 

3Q9> 31 1 
Tsz-ch'i T'ung-kien, History, 179 
T'ung-chou Fu, 118 
Tung-t'ing Lake, 184, 191, 251 
Tunguses, 19, 186 
Tun-hwang, locality, 68 
Turfan, locality, 216, 262 
Turkestan, 5, 20, 68, 198, 265 
Turkestan, Early travels to, 7, 69, 72, 

205, 206, 226 
Turks, 14, 19, 39, 56, 150, 168, 176, 

182, 216, 220, 227, 244, 274 
Turning-points in history, 10, 1 29 
Turtles, 270 
Twelve mansions, 195 
Twelve Tables, 174, 312 
Tyrants, Five, 71. See Protectors 

Ultima Thule, 8 

Uncle, political status of, 52 

Urumtsi, locality, 216, 262 

Usury, 12 

Uviet, 36 (see Yiieh), 128, 169 

Valuables, 46 

Varnish for writing, 62 

Vassal princes, 2, II, 12, 28, 55, 61, 

63, 84, 90, 105, 118, 140, 144, 154, 

i5 6 > I77» 2 39, 255, 279 
Vassals, barbarous, 55, 105, 112 
Vicar of God, 61, 104, 113, 134 
Victims in sacrifice, 59, 95, 102, 232, 

Victory, praying for, 59 
Vietnam, 36. See Yiieh 
Viscounts, 35, 49, 135, 139, 144, 161 
Voltaire on Chinese eclipses, 27 
Vows, 99. See Oaths and Sanctions 

Wagner, 266 

Wall, Great, 6, 119, 150, 169, 179,220, 

Walls of cities, 125 

Wanderings of Second Protector, 51, 

52, 90, 156, 175, 176, 244, 263, 289, 


Wang, title, 131, 133 

War, 108, 148. See Warfare 

War-chariots, 28, 34, 46, 74, 86, 151, 

160, 235 
War, etiquette of, 50, 231, 235, 303 
Warfare, Chinese, 28, 64, 108, 148, 177 
Warrior King, 133, 136, 140, 233, 251, 

277, 285, 300. See Martial King 
Water-courses, 115 
Wealth, ideas of, 270 
Wei (Ngwei), state, 113 
Wei Kiang (of Tsin), 268 
Wei, River, 3, 6, 15, 30, 119, 123, 

124, 153, 261, 302 
Wei, state, 41, 57, 63, 73, 77, 82, III, 

129, 137, 142, 149, 161, 166, 174, 

184, 202, 214, 236, 240, 242, 263, 

274, 284, 286, 289 
Wei, Valley, 6, 9, 10 
Wei Yang, statesman, 124, 130, 149, 202 
Weights and Measures, 197 
Wei-hai-wei, 35 
Wei-hwei Fu, 41, 144, 284 
Wenchow, 170 
Wen Wang, 204 
Western filtration of ideas, 6, 193, 198, 

219, 251 
Western marches of China, 10, 21, 206 
Wheelbarrows, 34 
Widows, 247 

William III. of England, 11 
Wine, 141, 146, 178, 210, 217, 282 
Wives, classes of, 50, 57, 59, 79, 142, 

169, 170, 176, 183, 205, 231, 233, 

236, 240, 243, 284, 306 
Wizards, 219, 297 
Wo, name for Japanese, 163 
Women, position of, 242, 246, 271, 

275> 284. 306 
Worship or sacrifice, 57, 269 
Writing, ancient, 66, 93, 187, 214, 250, 

258, 296 
Writing brush, 62 
Writing modified, 17, 93, 197 



Writing unknown to Tartars, etc., 18, 

20, 104, 163 
Written characters, 9, 12, 22, 89, 104, 

116, 128, 142, 177, 187, 256, 275 
Wu and Ts'u wars, 35, 46, 63, 73, 98, 

162, 239, 245, 257, 273, 306 
Wu and Yiieh wars, 36, 74, 76, 149, 

162, 170, 225, 232, 246, 271 
Wu as Protector, 72, 75, 76, 117, 262, 

273, 288 
Wu extinguished, 36, 64, 76, 91, 127, 

162, 212, 303 
Wu, state, 33, 34, 56, 73, 75, 91, 102, 

116, 118, 128, 137, 150, 154, 155, 

158, 166, 190, 224, 240, 251, 255, 

282, 286 
"Wu," the word, 163 
Wu's pedigree, 227, 233 
Wu's progress, 73, 141, 148 
Wuhu, modern, 33 
Wu-sih, locality, 116, 118 
Wusung River, 33, 254 
Wu Wang, 133, 136, 177, 204 

Ya-chou Fu, 116 

Yamagata, Prince or Duke, 135 

Yamhis, 236, 257, 274 

Yang Chou, province, 250 

Yangchow, 117 

Yang-tsz, joined to Hwai, 76, 117 

Yang-tsz, mouths of, 7, 22, 33, 180, 

250, 254, 262 
Yang-tsz, River, 4, 5, 7, 16, 21, 22, 30, 

36, 71, US, 13°. ^S, 143. I47> I5 6 > 
171, 214, 231, 252, 302, 305 
Yao, Emperor, 244, 251, 255 
Year, the, 26, 169, 195 
Yellow River, 3, 6, 18, 30, 33, 105, 
116, 119, 140, 156, 191, 193, 216 
as boundary, 15, 28, 38, 50, 52, 
70, 73. 90. I3°> 179. i 8 9> 286 

Yellow River — continued. 

its early course, 3, 22, 38, 41, 116, 

144, 184, 284, 286, 307 
its later courses, 4, 117, 128 
its lower course, 5, 16, 17, 70, 73, 

its northern bank Tartars, 6, 16, 

18, 70, 105, 262 
its northern bend, 7, 73, 218 
its southern bend, 10 
Yen, state of, 5, 17, 92, 116, 131, 136, 
141, 142, 150, 162, 236, 240, 263, 

273. 274 

Yen-tsz, philosopher, 44, 47, 48, 75, 
80, 101, 122, 129, 149, 162, 210, 
254, 280, 281, 295, 304, 308, 313 

Yih-ch'eng, locality, 122 

Ying, clan-name, 206 

Yu, Emperor, 198 

Yii, Emperor, 89, 167, 170, 191, 222, 

249. 257 
Yii Chou, locality, 87 
Yu-yiieh, 169. See Uviet 
Yuan Shi-k'ai, Viceroy, 32, 201 
Yiieh, Shan Tung capital of, 162, 

Yiieh as Protector, 64, 72, 106, 128, 


Yiieh destroys Wu, 64, 76, 91, 149, 

178, 246, 271 
Yiieh, Southern, 36, 131, 170, 251 
Yiieh, state, 36, 56, 64, 74, 127, 150, 

154, 160, 166, 169, 178, 190, 250, 


Yiieh, the Hundred, 170, 179 

Yung-ning, locality, 257 
Yiin Nan, province, 5, 71, 116, 150, 
228, 252 

Zodiac, 195 
Zoroaster, 207 


Date Due 

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